Two people standing in front of a wall

Vaasa and Finland's internationalization: soon to be history?

Internationalization is a valuable asset for the Vaasa business community and student culture. The work environment for Vaasa residents is often international, and the students in Vaasa operate in international environments. The Student Union of the University of Vaasa is particularly concerned about the plans concerning international students and the tightening of residence permits in the new government program. Is the internationalization of Vaasa and Finland soon becoming history?

In 2017, tuition fees were introduced for students coming from countries outside the EU and EEA. The increase in these tuition fees raises serious concerns about the new government program. The Student Union of the University of Vaasa considers free education a fundamental right that should also be extended to students from countries outside the EU and EEA. It is important to ensure equal opportunities for all students to access education without financial barriers. Free education is the foundation of Finnish society.

The government program mentions the exploration of compensation for students who have paid tuition fees and worked in Finland. It is important to have such incentives that encourage students to stay in Finland after graduation. In addition to this, a completed higher education degree as a requirement for a permanent residence permit is, in our opinion, a positive step. This would benefit not only individual students but also the vitality of regions such as Vaasa, which rely on international expertise.

The intentions in the government program, indicating that relying on Finnish social assistance for a living would result in the loss of the residence permit based on study, reduce Finland's appeal to international students. It is essential for the future of Finland to be able to retain valuable international expertise here and avoid its outflow to other countries. By offering comprehensive residence rights, we can create an appealing environment for international talents.

Tightening residence permit and citizenship requirements damage Finland's position as an attractive knowledge hub and negatively affect the willingness of international students to come to Finland to study and stay here after graduation. These intentions in the government program have a big impact on students, universities, and the overall international reputation of Finland.


Emma Lehtonen

Board member responsible for organizations and international affairs 2023

The Student Union of the University of Vaasa

Elmo Paloniemi

Chair of the Executive Board 2023

The Student Union of the University of Vaasa