Finland allows international students to access resident permits during the entire duration of their studies

Staff ReporterUpdated: Sunday, April 17, 2022, 04:42 PM IST
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Under a new act, students and their family members arriving in Finland from abroad will be able to obtain a residence permit for the entirety of the duration of their studies. The law also aims to make it easier to apply for work after graduation. However, students will still be responsible for their livelihood throughout their studies.

The new law would also increase chances of employment opportunities after graduation for students. Foreign students’ right to work during their studies will also increase from the average of 25 hours to 30 hours a week.

Under the new act, the type of permit for students studying for a higher education degree will change from temporary (B) to continuous (A), which will make it easier to obtain a permanent residence permit. According to the legislative reform, the family members of the student will also receive a continuous (A) permit.

The known jobseeker’s permit, which is granted to students who have completed a degree and to researchers who have completed their research, will be extended from one year to two years through the legislative reform. The permit would not need to be used immediately, but could be applied for within five years of the expiration of the residence permit.

“With seamless permit practices, the Government wants to make it easier for international students and researchers to stay in Finland. The new law will enable those who have studied here to look for work and will make Finland a more attractive destination for international experts,” said Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen in a statement.

Students still responsible for livelihood needs

Despite the recent changes to the laws pertaining to international students, the latter will still be required to provide proof of a secure means of subsistence, but only for one year. However, they will be responsible for their livelihood throughout their residency. The authorities will also oversee the requirement of a secure means of maintenance during the validity of the residence permit. The amendment will not affect the requirement to pay tuition fees, which would continue to be charged to students arriving in Finland from third countries.

The new act would lay out national regulations on permits for students, researchers, trainees, and volunteers as part of the residency permit regulation, which is based on EU norms, so that the act better fits the interests of businesses and education. If the grounds for granting a residence permit are met, asylum seekers can also apply for a permit based on their studies.

Conditions for permit to be monitored

According to the statement issued by the Government of Finland, the parliament requires that the Government take required measures to ensure the effectiveness, efficiency and resourcing of the ex-post monitoring of the conditions for granting a residence permit on the basis of studies so that the conditions for a residence permit can also be verified after a permit is issued.

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