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Finland: Number of Int’l Students Applying for Visas Threefolded This Year, Compared to 2020

The Finnish Immigration Service revealed that the number of studies-related permit applications was three times higher than the previous year.

The Finnish Immigration Service has revealed that a threefold increase in applications for residence permits from international students has been reported this year.

According to a press release from the organization, since January, 4,233 students from countries outside the European Union have applied for a study-related residence permit, an increase of 2,477 from the corresponding period last year, when 1,756 applications were submitted. Most students apply for a residence permit during the summer months, after securing a place to study at Finnish educational institutions, reports.

Moreover, even for this year, the largest number of orders came from Russia – with a total of 899 – and 504 from China.

It is important to note that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the number of applicants has decreased significantly in the past two years.

“All over the world, the coronavirus situation continues to affect the possibilities of our customers to travel or visit Finnish missions. Head of the department, Ano Tarin, noted that as Finnish missions reopen their operations, their waiting lists are longer than usual.

Furthermore, the organization acknowledges that the majority of applications were approved, about 93 percent, representing 3,870 study residence permits issued during the first eight months of this year. However, the organization reveals that the rest of the applicants received a negative response mostly due to financial issues.

“Most of the applicant students received a positive decision. Usually, the reason for negative decisions is that the student is having difficulties with financial resources,” Taryn said.

Students who come from non-EU countries to study, and who live in Finland, must have sufficient funds to bear medical and other expenses, as they are not eligible for financial aid in the country.

However, the Immigration Service intends to reduce the processing time for each application to a maximum of one month until 2023. The average processing time for a first residence permit for studies throughout this year was 12 days, which means that half of applications decisions were made in 12 days or less .

Welcoming international students into the country is also suitable for Finland, where the government previously suggested offering a long-term D country visa in a bid to boost labor migration. Professionals in the respective fields, start-ups or start-ups and their family members will be eligible to apply for this new visa.

“The proposal is important because, for its part, it will facilitate labor migration. After necessary assessments, it will also create a basis for extending the national D visa to researchers and students,” Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said.

The proposal came after the government’s budget session held a year ago, during which the preconditions for the fast-track measures were finalized and had to be studied. Fast Track service includes professionals, growing entrepreneurs and their family members. The Finnish government has indicated that such a fast track will be ready in June 2022.

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