The Migration Policy Group, in partnership with the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR), looked at the appropriateness of instruments for retaining students in different EU Member States, against a backdrop of global competition for talent.
By surveying international students in the final stages of their studies from a number of universities in each of five EU Member States (United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands), the project comparatively analysed:
- The propensity for graduates to stay in the country of graduation
- The reasons they intend to stay (or leave)
- The relevance, awareness and appreciation of EU Member State regulations to encourage retention
The Migration Policy Group contributed migration and integration data, expertise on EU developments, and led the dissemination of results. It also organised a workshop to present the results in Brussels. The Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR) researched and compiled the country reports, developed and supervised the survey, led the data analysis phase and produced the final German and English reports. The Migration Policy Group and SVR took joint responsibility in recruiting universities as well as academic and public partners. The study was funded by the Mercator Foundation.
The project led to a comparative report showing the impact of legal rules for retention of graduates on competitiveness. The report aimed to shed light on the popularity and appreciation of national rules to retain graduates and appraise the attractiveness and competitiveness of different countries for international graduates and academics.
Current immigration policy aims to screen for economically beneficial migrants and international students are increasingly a target. It is often assumed that they are able to easily adapt to new environments, providing economic benefits both during (fees) and after (work and tax) their studies. Their education levels mean a relatively lower level of exposure to unemployment and welfare dependency, and a higher likelihood that they will become net contributors to the local economy. International graduates are therefore attractive migrants for EU member states that need to draw greater numbers of highly skilled migrants – not least because of the rapid demographic transformation.