Home » Value » Reverse migration issue students to SXM

This schematic shows the different domains of the population of the island. It explains the relationships in order to understand the issue of the assumed brain drain and the real lack of reverse migration. Please click on the specific areas for viewing the specifics.

Population & Workforce on the SXM island

Population & Workforce on the SXM island

Students Population of SXM Workers population Firms Companies / Organizations Government Post graduates Post graduates from Dutch University UPG



  • Studying MBO, HBO or University to obtain qualifications
  • To get a meaningful job
  • Financial stability

This is the only group that is constant in their movement off-island to further study due to the fact that they cannot find this on the island itself. Typically, students move off-island to The Netherlands to pick up an MBO, HBO or University study

Brain drain or lack of reverse migration
This is called the Brain Drain on the island. In fact this is not the real Brain Drain yet as those brains have to be filled first; it is causing depopulation of young and energetic people. It starts to get into a real Brain Drain as those people are not returning to the island after their graduation. It is the lack reverse migration which is the real issue!

Population of SXM

The population of SXM consists of everyone living on the island. It is a mix between local people (being born on the island) and people from abroad (living and working on the island)

Main interests

  • Want to get things done
  • Clarity on the steps to take

Workers population

The workers population


The firms on the island, e.g. KPMG, BearingPoint, PWC, Deloitte, etc.

Main interests

  • Engagements
  • Quicker descisions at clients and prospects
  • Shortening the sales cycles
  • Social responsibility
  • Status
  • Utilization

Companies / Organizations

Companies and organizations on the island

Main interests

  • Do something good
  • Interest in professionalizing
  • Having a good name
  • Having fun in connecting people


The official and ruling Government on the island

Main interests

  • Diversity of the economy
  • Clarity on government programs
  • Keeping to the budgets
  • Increase government income
  • Render sufficient services for the population

Post graduates

The post graduates both on the island and in The Netherlands

Main interests

  • To get a job
  • To be taken serious
  • To work on the island
  • Financial stability
  • Change in Government behavior
  • Access to higher education without having to leave the island
  • Stable / cheap energy / alternative energy

Post graduates from Dutch University

Graduated students from MBO, HBO and University will get a certificate, diploma or degree. By that time they start realizing that only having a diploma without having practical experience is making life hard. Is the lack of practical experience causing the post graduate to stay in The Netherlands and not to go back to St. Maarten?

Not going back
Although almost none of the students leaving the island to study had the intention of not going back, the majority will stay in The Netherlands.

Reverse migration blocked
The interest in going back to the island is simply not there. This is due to the lack of opportunities to a proper job, finding a job in the first place and the non-acceptance of graduates by the local population.

Social and Economic growth on the island
To really solve the issue of remigration, the social economic field has to be drastically improved. This will create room for both post graduates and local people on the island.


Both students from the island at a Dutch school or University will be able to join UPG. This also counts for post graduated people from the island.

Gaining practical experience and applied knowledge
Within UPG, everybody has the same interest and goals:

  • Gaining practical experience
  • Gaining applied knowledge
  • Working together
  • Better the social economics on the island
  • Gaining experience in project management, stakeholder management, communications, business cases, etc.

Mixed population in UPG
The population of UPG is young people from the island mixed with senior and seasoned expertise from Dutch executives, having a passion for the island

Fuel for the initiative
The fuel and materials for the UPG initiative resides in projects and project activities on the island of St. Maarten. Here is how it works:

  • Pick up ideas
  • Form them into plans
  • Work out those plans
  • Setup a timeline, resource planning, etc.
  • Execute the plan
  • Results are to the island beneficiary