International students moving to Finland are no longer required to apply for residence permits each academic year, as they previously did, the authorities reveal.
According to the Finnish Immigration Service, the new legislation became effective today, April 15, and includes an extension of a two-year permit for students and researchers to look for work in the country after graduating, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“By doing away with the need to apply for a residence permit separately for each academic year, the new legislation makes international students’ lives easier. The amended rules also make sense from the perspective of public authorities, as residence permits can always be withdrawn if the relevant conditions are no longer met,” the Finnish Immigration Service Deputy Director-General Elina Immonen said, right before residence permit applications start peaking in June and July.
Now, students are able to obtain their residence permits for the entire duration of their studies, which prior to this legislation was set at a maximum of two years at a time, only by demonstrating they can fund their stay in the country, as this category is not eligible for the financial aid provided by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela).
With the new rules, students must present proof that they can cover the first year of their studies, which is around €560 per month or €6,720 per year.
In addition, students are still able to work 30 hours per week, up from 25 hours under the earlier rules. Previously limited due to term time, the hours worked are now considered over the entire calendar year. The change aims to facilitate tracking the time worked for both students and employers.
On the other hand, those who graduated in the Baltic country will be able to search for work after graduating as the new legislation permits them to apply for a two-year residence permit after graduation. Applications for the permit may be submitted up to five years from graduation, including from outside of Finland.
As Erudera.com, the first AI-backed education search platform, reveals, job searching permits prior to legislation were limited to one year, and applications had to be submitted personally in Finland, while the student’s or researcher’s residence permit was still valid.
Furthermore, the new legislation determines that the degree of students at Finnish universities and colleges are able to obtain continuous residence permits and be given a municipality of residence immediately. This works in great favor of students, as holding a continuous residence permit makes it easier for them to obtain a permanent permit later. Previously, students could only be granted temporary residence permits.
“This is yet another signal to international students, namely that they are welcome to take part in the Finnish job market and to become members of Finnish society,” Immonen said, pointing out that these measures are a clear signal to international students that they are welcomed to study and work in Finland.
Last year, about 5,800 students from third countries moved to Finland to pursue their academic careers.