University of Heidelberg, Germany's oldest university/Photo: AfricanCourierMedia

Germany: Every third foreign student stays on after their studies

More than one third of students from non-EU countries who began studying in Germany between 2006 and 2011 are still living in Germany ten years later, which means that they have stayed on after completing their studies, the Federal Statistical Office announced in Wiesbaden on Wednesday.

Around 184,200 international students received a residence title for the purposes of studying in Germany for the first time between 2006 and 2011. According to the Central Register of Foreigners, 48 percent of them were still living in Germany after five years and 38 percent after ten years. According to current evaluations by the OECD, the retention rate of international students in Germany is among the highest among OECD countries.

Of the international students who continued to live in Germany after ten years, 32 percent had a residence title for employment purposes, according to the data. This proportion was highest among former Chinese students, at 53 per cent.

Against the background of the shortage of skilled workers and demographic change in the country, students from non-EU countries thus represent an important resource for the German labour market, the statistical office said.

Many international students do not only integrate successfully into the labour market after their studies in Germany, but also decide to become naturalised citizens, as the statistics authority further announced. Thus, after ten years, 28 percent of the former international students who were still living in Germany had German citizenship. Above-average proportions of naturalised citizens were observed after ten years among Cameroonian (50 per cent), Brazilian (34 per cent) and Indian (32 per cent) students.

Family reasons can also be a motive for staying in Germany in the long term. 21 percent of the international students who were still living in Germany after ten years had a residence title for family reasons. In a comparison of the selected nationalities, this proportion was particularly high among Russian students (38 per cent).

Vivian Asamoah

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