Several higher education institutions in Finland have stopped allowing people from developing nations to take their entrance exams, as they fear they will face financial difficulties in Europe. According the country’s Immigration Service, students from places like Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal cannot afford to live in Finland.
Non-EU students are not eligible for state-sponsored financial aid and must show the government that they have at least EUR 6,000 in assets before they can come to the country. According to the immigration services, however, the system is being abused by foreigners who circulate money around their accounts.
“If students don’t have the money, there’s a risk they’ll be abused working for their own countrymen,” says Pentti Sorsa, a senior advisor at the Finnish Immigration Service.
Sandip Ranjit is from Nepal, where a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line. He is studying property management at Laurea polytechnic in Espoo and hands out newspapers at Helsinki’s Vuosaari metro station in order to get by.
“Accommodation is quite expensive and so is food. What I earn goes toward my living,” he said in a report by YLE.
Shishir Mani Pant, also from Nepal’s, studies biotechnology at Helsinki University. He told YLE that although the Finnish capital is pricey, studying here has advantages. “It’s quite expensive, but I would say if I don’t have to pay tuition fees then it’s manageable,” he said.