“The number of new international students has increased significantly, even compared to the years before COVID. The number of residence permits granted this year already exceeded the record year 2016, when 6,348 first residence permits were granted to students, says the Deputy Director General Elina Immonen.
Most of the students come to Finland to study at one of the higher education institutions and apply for a residence permit in the summer months after their studies have been approved. About 95% of students applying for a residence permit receive a positive decision.
Students also submitted a record number of 8,336 applications. In 2021, the corresponding number was 5,149. The increase in applications is about 62%.
The new legislation has a positive effect on the number of applicants
With the entry into force of the new law in April, it is now easier for international students to move to Finland. Students from abroad can be granted a residence permit for the entire duration of their studies. Previously, students received a residence permit for a maximum of two years at a time. The new law also makes it easier to find a job after graduation.
“International students are the answer to Finland’s labor shortage,” says Immonen.
Another significant change is that students’ families now also apply for a residence permit in Finland more often than before.
More effective decision-making
This year, it has taken an average of 20 days for students to receive their first residence permit decision. Last year, the processing time was 18 days. In other words, the increase in applications has not significantly affected the processing time.
“We are constantly improving the quality and efficiency of our services in a customer-oriented manner. Digital solutions and automation are important tools for both improving the customer experience and making the operations of the Immigration Office more efficient, says Immonen.
This year, the Immigration Office has made a record number of decisions, from residence permit applications to studies. The number of decisions, 7,741, is about 55% more than at the same time last year.
In addition to being approved to study in Finland, a student applying for a residence permit must have sufficient funds to live in Finland and insurance that covers medical expenses in Finland in case of illness.
Source: Finnish Immigration Service
Source: The Nordic Page