Helsinki: Finland has received a record number of international students this year, with an approximate increase of 54 percent compared to 2021, said the country's immigration service, Migri.
A total of 7,060 applicants from outside the European Union (EU) were granted first-time residence permits for studies between January and October 2022, while the approved number in the same period a year earlier was 4,595, as per news reports.
"The number of new international students has increased significantly, even when comparing to the pre-Covid years," said Elina Immonen, deputy director general of Migri.
The number of residence permits granted this year has already surpassed the record-breaking year of 2016 when 6,348 first-time residence permits were granted to students, she added.
Most students come to Finland to study in one of the country's higher education institutions, and apply for a residence permit after enrollment.
Up to 95 per cent of students applying for a residence permit receive a positive decision.
The largest numbers of international students arriving in Finland are from Russia and China, with 941 and 610 respectively. This ranking has remained unchanged over the past few years.
Furthermore, international students submitted a record-breaking 8,336 applications this year, an increase of about 62 per cent from 2021.
Under a new legislation that came into effect in April, moving to Finland is now easier for international students.
Previously, this group was often granted a residence permit for a maximum of two years at a time, but now they get a residence permit for the entire duration of their studies. In addition, the new law also makes it easier for international students to look for a job in Finland after graduation.
"International students are an answer to Finland's shortage of workers," Immonen added.