Finland, designated the happiest country globally, has relaxed rules for international students. On 15 April 2022, Finland passed legislation allowing international students to get residence permits during their studies. Previously, students had to apply for a permit extension every year of their education. International students and researchers are also eligible to apply for a two-year work permit to search for jobs and work in Finland. They must earn at least 560 euros per month or 6,720 euros per year while being in the permit status.Eligible students can submit a two-year residence permit application up to five years from their graduation date, even if they no longer reside in Finland.
The latest rules will attract more students to Finland to live and work in Europe. The new rules concern all non-EU students applying for a residence permit during their studies in Finland.
Elina Immonen, Deputy Director-General of the Finnish Immigration Service, said that “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.” She also said that “the amended rules also make sense from the perspective of public authorities, as residence permits can always be withdrawn if the relevant conditions are no longer met.”
As per a press release published by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland, students and their families may apply for a residence permit for the entire course of their studies. The authorities have also increased the number of students and researchers who can work from an average of 25 hours per week to 30 hours within five years after graduation. They can also do so even when they are abroad. Previously, it was restricted to term time; the hours worked are now considered over the entire calendar year. The change will make it easier for students and employers to track time worked at a specific time.
As an eligibility requirement for the residence permit, students must demonstrate sufficient money to fund their studies and stay in Finland. The Finnish government does not provide students with financial aid, so they must meet this condition.
The eligibility requirements for obtaining a permanent residence permit include a four-year continuous residence in Finland while holding a residence permit. The same will help students apply for a permanent residency in Finland with their family members.
The latest rules highlight the importance of international students in Finland and how the Finnish government wants them to be a valuable addition to the Finnish economy and society.