Spring 2018 Residence Permit Changes

Residence permits for an entrepreneur


In our previous blog post we talked about the new startup permit now available to non-EU citizens. The residence permit for an entrepreneur is split into two categories: a self-employed person with a company name and limited liability companies. Before the change the latter group applied for a worker’s permit and self-employed persons with a company name applied for an entrepreneur’s permit. Starting from 1.4.2018 there are two categories: a startup permit and an entrepreneurs permit.


First specialist permit for up to two years


New regulations have also been implemented for the special expert permits. Previously the first permit was granted for a maximum duration of one year, whereas now it can be granted immediately for up to two years. In addition, the family members of the permit holder can now receive their permits for two years as well. However, these permits are valid at most for the duration of the special expert permit. This modification reduces the differences between this permit and the EU Blue Card. To be granted a permit valid for two years, the applicant must meet the requirements including an on-going or minimum two-year employment contract.


Permit extensions electronically in the future


The Finnish Immigration Service aims to shift all extension permit applications to electronic format. Currently, applicants must visit the Immigration Office for identification even if new finger prints are not required. The processing system for the applications is currently being renewed so that in the future applicants logged in with Finnish bank codes, Citizens Certificate or mobile verification do not have to physically visit the Immigration Office at all.


Changes to permits of non-EU students and researchers


The permits of non-EU students and researchers have also been modified. In March a new bill for the EU directive was passed to the Parliament. The bill focused on non-EU citizens’ immigration and residency requirements in terms of study, research, internships and volunteer work. Sections of the Aliens Act overlapping with the directive would be abolished.


The bill also includes suggested changes for types of permits (continuous vs. temporary) as well as durations of first permits. In the future, researchers would receive a continuous permit and the first permit could be valid for up to two years. After this the applicant could apply for a four-year permit extension. Students on the other hand would receive a temporary permit for two years, after which they could apply for a two-year permit extension.


Both students and researchers could receive a year-long permit for job search and entrepreneurship after completion of studies/research. The legislative changes support the general trend of promoting entrepreneurship. The goal of the directive is to retain those who have completed their degrees in the EU through employment in the EU.


There are no changes to the right to work of students during their studies. The regulations related to internships and practical training would shift from the Aliens Act to a brand-new set of laws.


The permit changes are set to take effect 15.5.2018.


The FRS Immigration team is following the developments on the matter and will keep you updated in any upcoming changes and decisions.


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