Foreign doctoral students provide boost to Dutch economy

Educating foreign doctoral students does not cost the Government money, but is instead a boost to the economy. Tax income from foreign PhD students who stay in the Netherlands after graduating, easily compensate for the costs of training them, according to the Central Planning Bureau in a report published on Friday.

"With the current wages and chances that someone stays, it is likely that foreign doctoral candidates are not a cost for the Dutch public finances", according to the report. These doctors add to the Dutch prosperity with spillovers and contribution of new ideas, among other thing, though these economic effects are difficult to quantify.

In the Netherlands, the cost of educating a foreign PhD student is relatively high, because he or she is employed at the university as a worker. But in the the short term this is counteracted with a social contribution in the form of research- and teaching duties. The skills learned during the PhD program also provides better perspectives on the labor market in the long term.

According to the CPB, 32 percent of graduated foreign PhD students are still working in the Netherlands 10 years after finishing the program. On average they earn higher wages than Dutch with a PhD.

The number of foreign PhD scientists working in Dutch universities increased from 2,300 in 2005 to a current 4,000. They come from China (12 percent), Germany (8 percent), former Soviet-union countries (7 percent) and India (6 percent).

The vast majority of foreign doctoral candidates graduate in engineering with 44 percent and natural sciences with 26 percent.