News - April 19, 2012

Wientjes: 'Open the door for foreign students'

The Netherlands should move away from the politics of fear, declares Bernard Wientjes, chair of the VNO-NCW employers' association. 'We have to throw our doors open for foreign students.'

In Transfer, a magazine for the internationalization of higher education, Wientjes warns that there will be a big shortage of beta talent. In comparison, the costs for foreign students will become insignificant. 'If a high-tech company such as ASML cannot find enough people in the coming years, it will have no choice but take its production elsewhere. For some sectors, it's already one minute past midnight.'
The recruitment of foreign students should be done in a more focused way, but the government is standing in the way. The debate on the relatively large numbers of Germans studying in the Netherlands is 'absurd', says Wientjes; state secretary Zijlstra's concern with the costs and benefits of foreign students is 'a useless defensive exercise'.
The benefits cannot be quantified, he says. 'Take the Russians who have studied in the Netherlands. All of them are our country's ambassadors. That yield is beyond measuring.'