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55 percent of International Students Choose to Remain in Denmark

The good balance between work and leisure, the wage levels and the opportunity for professional development; these are the things that make students want to stay in Denmark.

According to the latest numbers from the Ministry of Education and Science, almost every 10th university-level student in Denmark is from abroad. Furthermore, a staggering 55 percent of the international students who studied in Denmark 2012 and went on to complete their education has remained in Denmark. This is clear from a Danish survey undertaken in 2015. The survey shows us what makes international students stay in the country after they have passed their final exams and put away their textbooks.

Four good reasons to stay in Denmark

Especially the conditions on the Danish labour market make international students want to stay. The graduates emphasize four reasons why they have chosen to stay: The good balance between work and leisure life, the Danish wages levels, the outstanding opportunities for professional development and challenges as well as the chance to gain international experience.

Roughly half the international graduates were in employment at the time of the survey, while the rest were job seeking. Of the graduates now employed in Denmark, 70 percent work for private businesses–most of them big companies.

Danish partners make students want to stay

Danish labour market conditions are not the only decisive factor, however, when international students elect to stay in Denmark. Other factors can be quite significant, too. The survey shows that international students with Danish partners are more likely to stay. Age is also important: The older the students are, the more likely they are to stay.

Students with student jobs while in Denmark are more likely to stay in the country when they complete their studies, and especially graduates with a technical degree are likely to stay. It is also influential, which country the international students come from, and graduates from other countries than the Nordic countries are particularly likely to settle in Denmark. Eight out of ten who have stayed in Denmark have studied at university, while the rest have attended professional colleges or vocational academies.

Six out of ten students will seek employment in Denmark

Among the students who have not yet completed their studies, a majority–61 percent–expect to remain and seek employment in Denmark. They stress some of the same reasons to stay as the graduates: The balance between work and leisure life on the Danish labour market, high wages and great opportunities for professional development and challenges. And they add a fourth reason: That Denmark is a safe country to live in.

The survey also looks at why slightly less than half–45 percent–of the international graduates have left Denmark. Here, a job offer from one's native country or another country is the most important reason. A good professional and private network outside Denmark has also influenced many to leave.

Denmark is happy to have international students

But actually, by far most of the international graduates who have left Denmark–88 percent–could easily imagine to return, if they were to receive a relevant job offer. And 40 percent of them still have some kind of professional relation to Denmark and the Danes.

The Danish government is pleased with having so many international students, hoping that, in the future, even more of them will stay and build a career in Denmark once they have completed their studies.

The survey ”International Students in Denmark” (2015) has been made by The Danish Agency for Higher Education and The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration. It is an update on the survey ”International Students' Career Plans” from 2013.