Integration and solutions to challenges faced by international students are needed now

The state of emergency caused by the coronavirus has had serious effects on the daily lives of many students: the state of emergency has resulted in e.g. unemployment, loss of income, coping difficulties and slowdowns in studies. Some students are in a particularly challenging situation: international students are not, in principle, covered by Finnish social security, and the loss of job earnings may have left students even more lonely in the absence of any other social safety networks. At least in the field of technology and compared to Finns, highly educated immigrants have also more likely become unemployed due to the state of emergency (1).


In order to study in Finland, you need regular income or sufficient assets. In addition to liability to tuition fees, students outside the EU/EEA are also required to meet the income requirements of their residence permit (560 e/month). As some students now experience income losses due to unemployment, getting a permit extension can be at risk, and students might be facing deportation in the upcoming months. It would, however, be beneficial for both students and the society that a student who has started their studies in Finland could remain in Finland to complete their studies and work. Attracting international talent is a perquisite for Finland to remain at the forefront of education and know-how when our dependency ratio weakens. 

Some of the concrete solutions to the situation are already under investigation: there has been plans to reform the permit processes of students in Finland even before this spring's state of emergency, and AYY's goal to grant students a residence permit for the full period of their studies is also in Finland's Government program. The situation for new students starting in the autumn will most likely be alleviated if legislation amendments prepared by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture are completed. In this case, students could retain their study place even if they could not start their academic year in Finland. 

More can still be done. At its next meeting in June, AYY's own Representative Council will decide whether, in this state of emergency, AYY can use a part of its funds to support the housing costs of students and especially those who are not included in social security systems. In the long run, we want to see that all students have a chance to focus on their studies and that their income and residence are secured throughout the studies. We therefore call on Aalto University, City of Espoo, Finland's Ministries, the Finnish Immigration Service and Kela to come up with and share their solutions to ensure that we hold on to our international talent and build a brighter future for all. 


More information is available from 

Imran Shamsul, Board Member, tel. 041 7981581 

Rosa Väisänen, Policy Specialist, tel. 050 5272401 

1 TEK:


  • Published:
  • Updated:
URL copied!

Read more news

Kuvassa Samuli Vehkomäki
Ajankohtaista, Kannanotot ja lausunnot Published:

AYY: Students must be better informed about changes in campus facilities

A few weeks ago, Aalto students noticed that a terrace built by ARTS students near the Undergraduate Centre had been removed. AYY shares the students’ concern about the fact that they were not informed about the matter in advance, nor were they informed as extensively as they should have.
Rebecca Adrianzen
Ajankohtaista, Kannanotot ja lausunnot Published:

Municipalities must provide COVID-19 passport for those vaccinated outside the EU

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has instructed municipalities to create a passport for those who have received the approved vaccines outside the EU. Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa have refused to follow the instructions by stating that this is not technically possible. The decision puts the vaccinated in an unequal position.
Accessible Entry
Kannanotot ja lausunnot Published:

Students demand: Funidata must invest more resources to improve the accessibility of the Sisu system

Aalto University Student Union, together with HYY, JYY, LTKY and TREY, demands that Funidata takes measures to invest more resources into fixing the accessibility issues in the study information system Sisu. We also demand accessible support services for students affected by these accessibility issues.
Students with protest signs
Blog, Kannanotot ja lausunnot Published:

Student associations: “Pandemic exit strategy must include the opinions of students”

For the last year CMT (Crisis Management Team) has made the important decisions regarding Aalto University's daily activities. Neuvosto, a committee of chairs of associations at Aalto, wrote a statement about taking students' perspectives and transparency back into decision making.