Finland has seen a 141% increase in the number of international students wishing to study at the country’s universities in 2021, compared to last year when the number of students dropped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Finnish Immigration Service has announced.
According to data, a total of 4,233 applicants coming from non-EU countries submitted their applications for a residence permit for studies in Finland during January and August 2021, up from 1,756 last year, with 3,870 first residence permits issued during the period, Erudera.com reports.
Over the past years, the majority of international students studying in Finland came from Russia and China. This year also, there are 899 Russian students and 504 Chinese.
“All over the world, the coronavirus situation still affects the possibilities of our customers to travel or visit Finnish missions. As Finnish missions are reopening their operations, their queues are longer than normally”, Head of Section at the Finnish Immigration Service, Anu Tarén said.
According to the press release issued by the Finnish Immigration Service, in order to be eligible to study and receive a residence permit, students must have sufficient funds to cover their living expenses as well as health insurance in Finland. It further said that non-EU students are not eligible for financial aid for studies and must pay fees to Finnish higher education institutions.
“Most student applicants have received a positive decision. The reason for negative decisions is usually the student having difficulties related to financial resources,” Tarén added.
The Finnish Immigration Service said that it is working to reach the goal of issuing residence permits for studies within a month by 2023. Between January and August 2021, the processing time for a first residence permit was 12 days or less.
Currently, a first residence permit for studies is issued for one or two years, but students are eligible to extend it. Those who graduate in Finland and remain there to work can apply for an extended residence permit on the basis of work.
Tarén pointed out that students who don’t have a job are also entitled to apply for an extended permit to seek a job or start their business in the country.
Students who apply for the first residence permit for studies but are not in Finland cannot submit their application through the online service Enter Finland before scheduling an appointment with the Finnish embassy or consulate.
As of September 17, 2021, there are some 283 pending applications for a first residence permit for studies and 986 pending applications for an extended permit.
Under a legislation project, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is aiming to facilitate the process, and grant students residence permits for a longer period.