The amendments will mean students and their family members can receive resident permits for the duration of their studies.
Finland’s government has passed a new law that will mean foreign students and their family members can receive residence permits for the entire duration of their studies.
Previously, students have been required to regularly cut through red tape at the Immigration Service (Migri) in order to renew study-based visas every year or two. The new law, which goes into effect on Friday, also aims to make it easier for foreign students to seek work in Finland after they complete their studies.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment said the law change was made because Finland wants to attract more international experts by improving students’ employment prospects after graduation.
International students will still be required to show proof that they can afford living costs while they are studying, but only for one year, according to the ministry, which added that students will continue to be responsible for the cost of living expenses throughout their studies.
Students from outside the EU will continue to be obliged to pay tuition fees.
The new law also extends limits on the number of hours foreign students are allowed to work from 25 to 30 hours per week.
The law will change the status of foreign student visas from the current “B” (temporary) to “A” (continuous), effectively shortening the duration of residency needed to apply for Finnish citizenship, compared to the previous arrangement.
Meanwhile, the law change will make it easier for graduates to seek work in Finland, even if they temporarily leave the country after their studies, according to the ministry.
“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,” a ministry statement explained.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin‘s (SDP) government proposed that President Sauli Niinistö approve the legislation on Wednesday, with the amendments going into effect on Friday.
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