Tuition fees discourage the arrival of foreign students also in 2018
Chinese, Russian and Vietnamese achieve the vast majority of residence permits for studies while South Koreans and Americans have been dropped down from the applicants top 5 nationalities.
At the end of August 2018, with the autumn semester about to begin in the majority of Finnish educational institutions, applications for residence permits for study reasons were still not recovered after the fall experienced in 2017. Altogether, 4,761 first residence permit applications for studies had been submitted at that time from outside the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA).
In the absence of the Government publishing the figures for the whole year 2018, the number of applications by the end of August was still far from the 5,646 submitted during 2017. And much farther from the 7,161 received in the previous year 2016.
These figures are included in the Report for Finland on International Migration 2017-2018, published by the Finnish Ministry of the Interior. The official study foresees that in 2018 “the total number of residence permit applications for studies will probably be almost the same as the previous year” (2017).
Urgent processing in 30 days
Any foreign student who does not come from the EU or the EEA needs a residence permit. The Finnish Immigration Service claims to treat “all residence permit applications for studies as urgent”. In 2017 “the average processing period was 30 days”, says the report.
But then, why there is such a decrease in the number of applications compared to 2016? The report emphasises as a probable cause that “in the autumn 2017, higher education institutions introduced for the first time tuition fees for students coming from outside the EU countries”. “This may impact both the number of foreign students and the distribution of their country of origin”, says the study.
Three countries gather the majority of applications
In 2018, the five top applicants’ nationalities have been the same as the last year: The number of the Chinese applicants has been the highest (656). The second biggest group has been Russians (589) followed by Vietnamese (397).
The biggest change compared to the previous year has been that South Koreans and Americans have been dropped out the top five most common nationalities. They have been replaced by applicants from Bangladesh (274) and Japan (225).
During the year 2017, the most common nationalities that applied for a first residence permit for studies were Chinese (973), Russians (679) Vietnamese (289) and Koreans (289).
The Chinese and Russians have been the top two nationalities for several years. “However, the number of Russians’ applications for studies has slightly decreased during the last three years”, clarifies the report of the Ministry of Interior.
90% of permits for studies granted
In 2017, altogether 5,767 decisions were made on residence permit applications submitted by foreign students outside the EU/EEA area. And 90% of the decisions (5,194) were positive. The remaining 10% (573) were negative.
The highest number of residence permits for studies were granted to Chinese nationals. The top three nationalities were the same as the year before.
By the end of August 2018, altogether 4,110 decisions had been made on the residence permit applications submitted by foreign students outside the EU/EEA area. 92% (3 782) of the decisions were positive and 8 % (328) negative.
Most first residence permits based on studies were granted to Chinese (636). Russians (542) and Vietnamese (390) were the two second biggest groups. The fourth biggest group has been Japanese (220), followed by American (174) students.
The number of residence permits based on studies granted to South Koreans has dropped and they weren’t among the top 5 nationalities anymore.
Foreigners studying for a degree
In 2017, there were over 20,300 foreign students studying for a degree in Finnish higher education institutions. This figure accounts for 7% of all students taking a degree in Finland.
Of international students, 4 728 were new, first-year students. The proportion of foreign students studying for the attainment of a degree has remained stable over the past few years. Around 77% of the foreign students came from outside the EU/EEA area. In 2017, the students most frequently came from Russia, Vietnam, China and Nepal.
Students from the EU and EEA areas
EU citizens who come to Finland to study for more than 3 months do not need a residence permit but are required to register their stay in Finland. In 2017, a total of 801 EU citizens submitted registration applications based on studies.
The number of registration applications also “decreased slightly compared to the previous year when 922 EU citizens applied for registration based on studies. In 2017 the main nationalities applying for registration were German (164), Italian (108) and French (89) students.
By the end of August 2018, altogether 740 EU citizens had applied for registration on their right of residence. The main nationalities were the same as the previous year.