Finland recently ushered in changes affecting researchers and students, which became effective starting 15 April 2022. What has changed is legislative in nature, but also practical in terms of the ways applications are processed by the Finnish Immigration Service, Migri.
The aim is to streamline the application processes and allow former researcher and student permit holders to search for employment for a longer time after finishing their research contract or studies.
WHY THIS MATTERS
The residence permit process of researchers arriving in Finland has been streamlined. The applicant no longer has to choose between two researcher permit categories when submitting his/her application. Instead, Migri will determine the most appropriate residence permit between the two potential permit types.1
Following an amendment of the relevant law, staying in the Finnish job market, or even returning to Finland after some years outside of the country, should now be simpler for “academic” workers. There has been a relaxation of the rules regarding a residence permit meant for looking for work or starting a business after studies and research in Finland.2
Researchers: Two Types of Permits – One Application
Starting April 2022, the applicant applies for a residence permit for a researcher. Migri reviews the application and grants the type of permit that best suits the applicant out of the two types of residence permits for researchers. The application fees of the two permits have now also been aligned.
The main differences between the two researcher permits are:
Permit in Accordance with EU Directive 2016/801
The National Researcher’s Residence Permit
For researchers who have a master’s degree
For researchers who have a bachelor’s degree
Researchers who’ve been granted this permit can conduct their research partially in another EU country in addition to Finland
This permit does not allow one to conduct research outside Finland
This residence permit is most often granted as a type A permit, meaning that it is a continuous permit
Type A can be granted if the contract with the research organisation lasts over two years and type B (a temporary residence permit) if the contract lasts under two years
This permit is not available to applicants who are in Finland as asylum seekers, have received international protection in another EU member state, or have been deported from Finland.
This permit can be granted even if the applicant has applied for or received international protection in an EU member state or in Finland or if the applicant has received a decision on deportation from Finland.
Source: KPMG in Finland
Looking for Work after Studies or Research?
The rules regarding residence permits available to researchers and students have been updated through an amendment of the relevant law, effective 15 April. The key changes for companies hiring third-country nationals can be summarised as follows:
- After finishing their research or studies, the residence permit to look for work or to start a business can now be granted for a maximum of two years, compared to the previous one year. If the former student or researcher granted the permit for job-seeking so chooses, he or she can use the permit in three segments, each of which must last at least six months.
- The permit must be applied for within five years from the date when the residence permit for studies or research expired. Previously, the permit for staying in Finland while exploring career opportunities had to be applied for before the student or researcher permit expired.
- Whereas the permit to look for work or to start a business previously had to be applied for in Finland under an existing permit, the application can now be lodged abroad.
- Students are now allowed to work approximately 30 hours per week, compared to the previous version of the law which allowed a side job of a maximum 25 hours/week.3
The series of changes aimed at improving the immigration formalities for skilled workers reflect a wider objective of increasing employment-based immigration to Finland.
1 See (in English), Maahanmuuttoviraston Migrationsverket/Finnish Immigration Service, "Residence permit application for a researcher" (also available in Finnish (Suomi)).
2 See (in English), Maahanmuuttoviraston Migrationsverket/Finnish Immigration Service, "Rules on international students moving to Finland relaxed" (also available in Finnish (Suomi)).
3 Maahanmuuttoviraston Migrationsverket/Finnish Immigration Service, "Are you applying for a residence permit for studies or research? Applying will become easier on 15 April 2022" (also available in Finnish (Suomi)) and "Residence permit application for a researcher."
See the relevant legislation (in Finnish), Finlex, 277/2022, "Laki kolmansien maiden kansalaisten maahantulon ja oleskelun edellytyksistä tutkimuksen, opiskelun, työharjoittelun ja vapaaehtoistoiminnan perusteella annetun lain muuttamisesta" at: https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2022/20220277 .
* Please note the KPMG International member firm in the United States does not provide immigration or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Finland.
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