The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) said on Thursday that it has begun checking foreign students’ eligibility for residence permits on an automatic basis. The agency said that the post-decision monitoring is aimed at ensuring that students still meet the requirements for residence permits that have been issued.
The survey covers degree-seeking students whose permits became valid on or after 1 June 2022. Migri will be looking into how their studies have progressed and whether they still have the right to study, along with other residence permit requirements.
“The post-decision monitoring is our statutory obligation but it also benefits Finnish society and our customers from the perspective of internal security,” said Pauliina Helminen, head of Migri’s Permit and Nationality Unit. “It enables us to detect labour abuse and human trafficking, for example,” she added in a statement.
Automatic post-decision monitoring enables effective control processes
Based on a legislative change made last year by the previous SDP-led government, students may be granted residence permits to cover the entire duration of their studies. Before that change, officials checked students’ residence permit requirements when they applied to extend their permits.
Migri says its automatic post-decision monitoring will be based on tracking other official registries maintained by the Social Insurance Institution (Kela), the National Education Agency and the Population Information System, for instance.
After such automated monitoring, Migri officials will decide on a case-by-case basis whether each student is still eligible for a residence permit.
“Automation enables periodic monitoring with a better coverage, and ensures our officials can focus on the tasks that demand their full expertise,” explained the immigration service’s Chief Digital Officer, Anna Cheung.
If Migri staff find grounds for a possible withdrawal of a residence permit, they will discuss the issue with the permit-holder before making a final decision, the agency said.
Anyone whose residence permit is revoked will be given 30 days to ask for a review of the decision. In most cases they will be allowed to remain in Finland and work while their request for review is being processed.
Migri has carried out post-decision checks of selected permit-holders since 2017, but now intends to do so more systematically using automatic monitoring.