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Amended law to ease entry and retention of international students in Finland 

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 13.4.2022 14.04
Press release
International students.

Under a new act, students arriving in Finland from abroad will obtain a residence permit for the entire duration of their studies*. The law will also make it easier to apply for work after graduation. However, students will still be responsible for their livelihood throughout their studies.

Finland wants to attract significantly more international experts. Therefore, legislation will be amended to allow foreign students to obtain a residence permit for the whole duration of their studies. The new law will also improve the students’ employment opportunities after graduation.   

It will become easier for students to focus on their studies, as they will be granted a residence permit for the entire length of their studies. 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. 

Graduates to have easier access to jobs

In the legislative reform, the so-called 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. 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,” says Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen

Students still responsible for their livelihood 

Students 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 monitor the requirement of a secure means of subsistence during the validity of the residence permit.

The amendment will not affect the obligation to pay tuition fees, which would continue to be charged of students arriving in Finland from third countries.  
New law to meet the needs of businesses better

In future, residence permits of the same type will be contained in a single act. As part of the residence permit regulation is based on EU rules, the new act will lay down national provisions on permits for students, researchers, trainees and volunteers so that the act meets the needs of businesses and education better. Asylum seekers can apply for a residence permit on the basis of studies if the conditions to be granted a residence permit are fulfilled. 

Closer monitoring of conditions to obtain a permit

The Government proposed on 13 April 2022 that the President of the Republic approve the bill. The President is to approve the bill on 13 April 2022. The amendments will enter into force on 15 April 2022.

The Government also entered a parliamentary statement into the minutes. According to the statement, Parliament requires that the Government take the necessary 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 the issuance of the permit.

Iiris Niinikoski, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 295 047 372, Jarmo Tiukkanen, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 295 047 355 

*8.7.2022 the incorrect information that family members of the students would also obtain a residence permit for the whole duration of the studies was deleted from the press release. The new act only applies to the students themselves, not their family members. Family members can obtain their first residence permit for maximum one year.