Finland has recently introduced new reforms that make it easier for international students to work and stay in the country after graduation. The changes, which came into effect on 15 April 2023, aim to attract more talent and diversity to the Finnish workforce and society.
According to the new regulations, international students will receive “continuous” residence permits for the duration of their studies, instead of “temporary” permits that need to be renewed every two years. This will simplify the application process and reduce the bureaucracy for students. It will also make it easier for them to obtain a permanent residence permit after graduation, as they will only need to have held a continuous permit for four consecutive years.
The new reforms also extend the work rights of international students and graduates. During their studies, non-EU/non-EEA students can now work up to 30 hours per week on average, instead of 25 hours previously. After graduation, they can apply for a residence permit to look for work or to start a business for up to two years, instead of one year before1. Additionally, the students’ families will also receive continuous permits, which may encourage them to settle in Finland permanently.
The Finnish government hopes that these changes will make Finland more attractive and competitive as a study destination and a place to build a career. Finland has been ranked many times as the happiest country in the world and has a high-quality education system that offers tuition-free degrees for EU/EEA students and affordable fees for non-EU/non-EEA students. However, Finland also faces challenges such as an aging population, a labor shortage in some sectors, and a need for more innovation and diversity.
By making it easier for international students to work and stay in Finland, the government aims to address these challenges and benefit from the skills, knowledge, and perspectives that foreign talent can bring. According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Finland needs about 34,000 immigrants per year to maintain its current level of economic growth. International students are seen as a valuable resource that can contribute to Finland’s development and internationalization.
However, finding a job in Finland as an international student or graduate is not always easy. Language barriers, cultural differences, and lack of networks can pose challenges for job seekers. Therefore, international students are advised to learn Finnish or Swedish, participate in extracurricular activities, network with potential employers, and use various sources of information and guidance to find suitable opportunities. Aalto University has created an online course called Finland Works, which is designed to help international students understand the Finnish working life and culture.
Finland is a country that offers many opportunities and benefits for international students who wish to pursue their studies and careers there. With the new reforms that make it easier for them to work and stay in Finland, the country hopes to attract more foreign talent and diversity to its workforce and society.