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Government proposes legislative amendments to increase retention of international students

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 16.12.2021 16.40
Press release
International students work in a laboratory.

Finland wants to attract significantly more international experts. According to a government proposal submitted to Parliament, foreign students would obtain a residence permit for the entire duration of their studies. The new law would also improve the employment opportunities of students after graduation.   

The Government’s proposed amendments to student residence permits would make it easier for international students to complete their studies, because they would obtain a permit for their entire studies. The right of foreign students to work during their studies would also be improved. 

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

The Government will also assess in 2022 whether doctoral students could be granted longer residence permits. It aims to submit a proposal on the matter during this Government term. 

“With more 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 also certainly make Finland a more attractive destination for international experts,” says Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen

Students still responsible for their livelihood 

Students would still be required to provide proof of a secure means of subsistence, but only for one year. However, they would be responsible for their livelihood throughout their residency. The authorities would also monitor the requirement of a secure means of subsistence during the validity of the residence permit.

The amendment would 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

According to the proposal, residence permits of the same type would be contained in a single act. As part of the residence permit regulation is based on EU rules, the new act would lay down national provisions on permits for students, researchers, trainees and volunteers so that the act meet the needs of businesses and education better.

Asylum seekers, on the other hand, could apply for a residence permit on the basis of studies. 
In its session on 16 December, the Government discussed a proposal for amendments to residence permits. The act is due to enter into force on 1 April 2022.

Iiris Niinikoski, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 295 047 372  
Jarmo Tiukkanen, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 295 047 355 
Ariann Grandell, Senior Specialist, tel. + 358 295 047 020

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