Non-EU nationals will need work permits for Finland, and it is illegal to work in the country without one. While EU nationals are exempt from work permit requirements, those planning to stay in Finland for longer than 90 days must register with the Finnish Immigration Service.
Certain categories of workers will also be exempt from work permit requirements in Finland. These include seasonal workers, academics and trainees.
Most work permit applications must be supported by a firm job offer, and an expat’s employer will likely handle a significant part of the application process. Employers will also have the burden of proving that no suitable Finnish or EU/EEA candidate could be found to fill the position in question, making it fairly challenging for third-nationals to secure a work permit for Finland.
That said, the Finnish government has recently announced relaxed regulations for the work permit process and even introduced a new work permit for those who have graduated from a Finnish university and earn above a certain income threshold. The country has established a certification programme for employers that enables them to fast-track their work permit applications, and this employer certification is valid for two years.
Types of work permits for Finland
There are two types of work permits in Finland. First-time entrants to Finland will likely be eligible for a fixed-term work permit tied to a specific employer and job. This work permit will be valid for the duration of the employment contract.
The other type of work permit is a continuous work permit, granted to those who have been working in Finland for multiple years and have secured a permanent employment contract. The continuous work permit is indefinitely valid and can lead to a permanent residency permit for holders who have lived and worked in Finland for four concurrent years or more.
- Visit the Finnish Immigration Service website for more on the different employment categories that are eligible for work permits in Finland.
Applying for a work permit for Finland
The process for applying for a work permit will differ based on whether an expat is applying for a fixed or continuous work permit. Those moving to Finland who are looking to secure a fixed work permit will have their employers oversee the application process.
The Finnish Immigration Service will review the application, conduct a labour market test to determine if any local or EU/EEA applicants could fulfil the job requirements, and then approve or reject the application based on their findings.
If an expat’s application is approved, they will then need to begin their residence permit application process at the Finnish embassy or consulate in their home country. Some applicants may be able to fast-track their applications and immediately make the move to Finland.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice, and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
What do expats say about Finnish visa processes?
"I tackled the visa process myself, and it was very smooth and easy. It seems that the process is highly dependent on your status and background." Learn more about moving to Finland in our interview with Japanese expat Daiki.
►Have a look at Visas for Finland to learn more about Finnish residence permits
Are you an expat living in Finland?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Finland. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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