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Number of residence permit applications from foreign students clearly reduced due to tuition fees

Publication date 6.10.2017 14.33
Press release

The number of residence permit applications from foreign students has fallen significantly.

Between 1 January and 30 September 2017, a total of 4,355 students applied for a residence permit in Finland. This is a 23 per cent reduction compared to the corresponding period last year. From 1 January to 30 September 2016, the Finnish Immigration Service received 5,660 applications in total. During the corresponding period in 2015, the agency received 5,038 applications.

Effect of tuition fees perhaps anticipated in the previous year

The main reason for the decreasing number of applications is likely to be the introduction of tuition fees to higher education students from outside the EU/ETA area. This change applies to students who begin their studies on 1 August 2017 or later.

The forthcoming tuition fees were probably anticipated in 2016 when students submitted an exceptionally high number of residence permit applications in Finland.

Number of Vietnamese applicants decreasing

The number of applications has decreased the most among Vietnamese students.

By the end of September this year, Vietnamese students had submitted 70 per cent fewer applications than in 2016.

In addition to tuition fees, changes in the course offering of educational institutions may be another reason behind the decreasing number of applications.

With 250 applicants, Vietnam is nonetheless still among the top three countries in terms of residence permit applications submitted by students.

Tuition fees are also the likely cause behind the smaller number of applicants from Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan compared to last year.

Only slight variation among top applicant nationalities

In 2017, the largest number of residence permit applications for studies were submitted by Chinese students (660 applications), followed by Russian (527) and Vietnamese students (250). These were also the largest groups of applicant nationalities in 2015 and 2016.

This year, applicants from Japan (191) and the United States (177) were also among the top five nationalities. While the number of Japanese applicants has stayed largely the same for the last three years, the introduction of tuition fees is reflected in the reduced number of applicants from the United States compared to last year.

Total number of applicants in 2017 still unknown

From January to December 2016, foreign students submitted a total of 7,161 applications. In 2015, the total number of applications was 6,297. The total number for 2017 will be known at the end of the year.

The majority of applications at the end of the year are submitted by exchange students who are not charged tuition fees.

Further information:

Anu Tarén, Head of Section, tel. 0295 433 037