Finland Simplifies Student Residency Applications With Automation

Finland Simplifies Student Residency Applications With Automation

Finland, known for its high-quality education system and vibrant student life, has become an increasingly attractive destination for international students.

In a move to accelerate and standardise the processing of student residence permits, the Finnish Immigration Service initiated a pilot program on 19 October 2023 to automatically issue positive decisions on student residence permit applications 

According to a press release of the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri), which is responsible for the processing of all types of residence permits, the automated decision-making service will be used to process the student applications that meet all criteria and don’t include the negative decisions and decisions that require individual consideration.

It promises a smoother and more efficient procedure for applicants, cutting down the wait time significantly. 

Deputy Director-General Elina Immonen believes that this step towards modernisation will promote “safe and seamless immigration.” 

By automating the standard processing, specialists at the Immigration Service will have more time to dedicate to applications that require specialised attention or need further details.

Initially, this automated procedure is being tested on applications from degree-seeking students at Finnish universities and all exchange students. Depending on the pilot's success, the service plans to expand the automated system to cater to other applicant groups in the future.

In spite of the automated decision-making service, applicants must have their identity verified either at a Finnish mission or a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service. If any inconsistencies arise or additional information is required, an official steps in to review and make the decision.

As of 28 September, the Finnish Immigration Service began automated post-permit issuance surveillance for student residence permits. The general law, which went into effect in May, allows automatic decision-making when the application is approved and no other parties, like family members, are involved.

Finland had awarded a total of 7,039 initial residence permits for studies to foreign nationals as of the end of July. The bulk of applicants for this permit were from Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka, India, and Russia.

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