Andy Alorwu istuu sinisillä portailla läppäri sylissään, ylöspäin katsoen ja leveästi hymyillen.

Andy does not see the lack of Finnish skills as an obstacle to employment: “If you can demonstrate your skills, companies will go out of their way to have you”

International students Andy Alorwu and Anastasia Corjan have found employment in Finland during their studies. The government wants to support the employment of international students as well.

“Most people don’t believe me when I tell them how I found this job. I saw the job advertisement on the university notice board during my first term. I thought, why not?” Andy Alorwu says.

Alorwu had just started his studies in the Software, Systems and Services Development in the Global Environment master’s programme when he noticed the advertisement. Soon he started working at Pepron, which offers cloud and mobile services to companies. It has been a year since his graduation, but his workplace has not changed.

“I have a continuing contract, so I’ll probably work at Pepron until they get tired of me or I eventually decide to go back home,” laughs Alorwu.


Traineeship as a springboard to working life

Marketing student Anastasia Corjan ended up in her current job through traineeship. She found the traineeship position by browsing Oulu-based startups on the Angel website and sending open applications.

“The companies didn’t have any vacancies or traineeship announcements. I just decided to be convincing,” Corjan says. Being active paid off: Corjan was eventually able to choose between two companies. Now she works as a marketing coordinator in CubiCasa, which offers a mobile app to create high-quality visualisations of properties.

Corjan believes that university studies have helped her better define what kinds of projects and working environments suit her. Practical experience, however, has been of more benefit in the ever-changing field.

“In a startup, I have the opportunity to explore and gain experience of many different tasks and areas of work,” Corjan says.

Corjan is currently an exchange student in France.


The lack of Finnish skills is a delaying factor but not an obstacle

Acquiring sufficient skills in the Finnish language is often a challenge for international students. Many of the jobs found by Corjan required Finnish language skills. Fortunately, international businesses can also be found.

“I chose CubiCasa because it is oriented towards international markets. All my work tasks and team communication are in English,” Corjan says.

Alorwu understands that the language skills requirement often springs up from a practical need. However, he does not believe language to be an insurmountable obstacle for skilled employees.

“Companies look for the best talents. If you can demonstrate your skills, companies will go out of their way to have you,” Alorwu says. He encourages students to gather portfolio or projects to show employers.

Alorwu’s work community is mostly made up of Finnish people, but language has never been a problem.

“If something is being discussed in Finnish and I show up, they switch to English so that I can also understand and participate. They have made me feel at home,” Alorwu says, praising his colleagues.


The speed of the residence permit process depends on the person’s country of origin

Corjan, who is from Moldova, did not need a separate residence permit for her studies in Finland because she had obtained EU citizenship during her previous studies in Romania.

Alorwu applied for a residence permit while his previous studies in Moscow. The process went quickly and without problems. Back home in Ghana, it would have been more challenging to obtain the residence permit.

“The closest embassy is in Nigeria, and it is very difficult to get an appointment. This year, no one was able to start their studies because of the residence permit problems,” Alorwu says.

Yle reported in spring 2019 that some universities had had to return tuition fees because of the delayed residence permit process. The majority of the universities that responded to Yle’s survey hope for a much more fluent process for foreign students.


The government plans to ease the residence permit process

At the moment, residence permits are only granted for a year at a time, which means that the permit must be renewed during the studies. After graduation, one must apply for a new residence permit for working or looking for work.

The Finnish government intends to put together an action plan to improve the employment of international students. The aim is to grant a residence permit to foreign degree students for the entire duration of their studies. After graduation, the residence permit would be extended by two years and employment would be supported, for example, by enabling short-term work.

Last updated: 11.12.2019