Finland struggles to attract Chinese students

Chinese students looking to Finland for education has declined by 24 percent since 2011. Meanwhile, the share of Asians of all foreign students has risen by 30 percent during the same period the Chinese news site Xinhuanet writes.

This is an issue for Finland, as the country hopes to find potential immigrants among foreign students. Due to low birthrates and high taxes, Finland may struggle to finance its social welfare system through its own citizens in the future. Hence, immigrants are valuable to the Nordic country.

And it matters where people are from according to a study published by a Finnish think tank. The study shows, that immigrants from Germany, Estonia and China are the most likely to be successful in Finland.

Prime Minister Antti Rinne hopes non EU/EEA graduates will stay if they find a job. Therefore, she wishes to extend that period from one to two years.

Family, language and money

While students are allowed to bring family, there are some cultural differences in determining what a family member is.

As the term in Finland only includes spouse and children, some Chinese have been very upset to find, that their parents or grandparents were not granted a residence permit.

Furthermore, students may find it difficult to meet Finland’s income requirements for being able to support family members.

Finland also introduced tuition fees in 2017 for programs taught in English for students from non EU/EEA countries. Universities charge 15,000 to 18,000 euros per year. Applied sciences institutions charge less. If the student happens to possess the language skills to study in Finnish or Swedish, there is no tuition fee.

However, this is not believed to be a major issue. In 2017 Chinese students in Finland counted 1609, making up the third largest foreign population of students in Finland.

At the Chinese Embassy in Finland it is believed that a lack of English bachelor-programs may carry part of blame for the decline in Chinese students.

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