Peter Wennink: ASML can’t do without expats’

ASML can't keep up with worldwide chip machine demand
Photo credit: ASML/ Studio040

If it is up to ASML, the number of knowledge and labour migrants to the Brainport region will continue to increase in the coming period. Even though politicians are increasingly questioning the situation.

The increase in the number of knowledge workers in the region entails quite a few problems. The housing market is extremely tight, the classrooms are full, just like our doctor’s waiting room. But stopping that growth is not an option, according to ASML CEO Peter Wennink. He made these remarks to ‘Nieuwsuur’ on Monday evening.

“With the growth, it will just come,” says Wennink. “A company like ASML consists of 40 percent internationals. Two thirds of the international students who come from Eindhoven University of Technology find work in our region. We cannot keep our company afloat without this knowledge migration.”

Not homogenous

“The discussion is whether we should admit even more international students to the universities,” says Wennink. “But a technical university is different from general universities. At the latter, students follow a sociology course and after their studies they return to their country of origin. You can’t tar all that with the same brush. That is not a homogeneous scenario and politicians must be aware of that.”

Big problem

Slowing down the influx of knowledge workers or reducing the number of international students is therefore out of the question, says Wennink. “One of our biggest problems is attracting enough talent. When you talk about the major innovations, which are necessary for the energy transition, for example, then a lot of talent is needed. We therefore need more knowledge migration, not less.”

As a result, the discussion about English as the language of instruction at universities also arouses Wennink’s surprise. “The entire technology industry speaks English. You may want people to speak Dutch, but you cannot ask those people to master the Dutch language.”


Wennink does think that the Dutch business community should take more responsibility. “We are already paying for the infrastructure because the business community has a responsibility in this. Because the people who come to the Brainport also need a home.”

“We will take our responsibility to find a solution for this together with housing corporations, project developers and the municipality. Whether it concerns money, guarantees, or helping the government to get rid of that gigantic pile of permits. That we must do together”, said the CEO of ASML.

Translated: Yawar Abbas

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