Applications for student visas have resumed in Finland after a year of hiatus. The country, which is in great need of qualified professionals, wants to shorten the processing times for cases and promote long stays.
The number of applications from foreign students received by Finnish universities since January 2021 is significantly higher than the previous year, welcomes the site Helsinki Times, English-speaking partner of the great Finnish daily Helsingin sanomat newspaper.
To date, of the more than 20,000 foreign students received, those coming from countries outside the European Union represent more than 4,000 visa applications – more than twice the figure of last year, particularly affected by travel restrictions due to the pandemic.
A resumption of registrations which confirms the reputation of excellence acquired internationally by Finnish higher education, especially as the health situation is still partially paralyzing the sector. “As Finnish embassies and consulates reopen their doors, their queues are longer than usual”, recognizes a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Extended residence permit
While the country is in dire need of recruiting qualified professionals, the Finnish government intends to shorten the processing times for cases. “Immigration services aim to streamline the application process for residence permits and shorten the processing time for applications. The aim is for a residence permit for studies to be issued within one month of 2023 ”, writes the information site.
In addition, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is working on a reform of immigration rules aimed at facilitating the stay of foreign students and researchers in the country. “The aim is for students to obtain longer residence permits than they are now.”
Currently, the first residence permit for studies is issued for one or two years, after which the foreign student can apply for an extension. Students who have completed their studies can stay in Finland to gain first professional experience. “If the student does not have a job, he can also request an extension to look for work or create a business”, specifies the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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