A foreigner’s right to work in Finland is determined on the basis of nationality.
Hiring EU/EEA country citizens
By virtue of the fundamental right of free movement within the European Union, citizens of EU/EEA countries have the right to take paid employment in Finland. However, an EU/EEA citizen must register his/her right of residence if work in Finland lasts for over three months. For citizens of the other Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland), it is sufficient to submit a notification of the move to the Local Register Office.
Hiring citizens from non-EU/EEA countries
If you plan to hire a citizen of a non-EU/EEA country, find out what sort of permit an employee requires in order to work.
The Aliens Act lists the professional fields and tasks for which a foreigner is not required to have an employee’s residence permit, but rather a regular residence permit or visa (visa waiver). Further information on these fields and tasks is available on the website of the Finnish Immigration Service. When a visa or residence permit is required, an employee must acquire it before their arrival in Finland.
If you are hiring a foreign employee who is already in Finland, make sure that the employee has a valid residence permit which incorporates the right to work.
Applying for a residence permit
You should initiate an application for an employee’s residence permit well in advance, in order to allow the employee to start working in accordance with the planned schedule. Start by filling in form TEM 054 for an employee’s residence permit application, sign it and deliver it to the foreign jobseeker. With the same form, you can also apply for advance information from the TE Office on the criteria for granting an employee’s residence permit.
The jobseeker encloses the appendix form with his/her residence permit application and takes the application and any relevant appendices to the Finnish Diplomatic Mission.
If the work concerned does not necessitate an employee’s residence permit, the foreigner must fill in a residence permit application (regular residence permit) or a visa application (regular visa) at the Finnish Diplomatic Mission. The TE Office is not involved in the granting of these permits.
The diagram below presents the stages of an employee’s first residence permit application.
The first employee’s residence permit is valid for a fixed term
An employee’s residence permit is always valid for a fixed term, even if the employment is valid until further notice. Usually, the first residence permit is valid for a year. If the employment continues for a longer period, the employee may apply for an extension to the residence permit from the local police. A new permit application must be submitted before the validity of the previous residence permit expires, and the same clarifications must be appended to it as with the first permit application.
Further information on an employee’s residence permit is available on the websites of the Finnish Immigration Service and the TE Office.
The stages of an employee’s first residence permit application
The TE Office makes a partial decision on an employee’s residence permit application
The work permit unit operating in connection with the TE Office will process an employee’s residence permit application and make a partial decision on granting the permit. The employee may be given advice on how to proceed and asked for further clarifications if required. A request for further clarification is sent in writing to the address provided in form TEM 0.54.
When processing a permit application
it will be determined whether there is suitable workforce available on the labour market for the position described in the application
the legality of the employment terms will be checked
it will be checked that the foreigner’s necessary livelihood in Finland has been secured.
Regional and national policies on the use of foreign labour will be take into account in the deliberation process. It will also be determined as to whether or not you have the prerequisites to cope with your obligations as an employer during the validity of the permit.0
The Finnish Immigration Service decides on granting the permit and the permit extensions
After a partial decision by a TE Office, the Finnish Immigration Service will investigate whether or not the other prerequisites for the jobseeker’s residence in Finland are met. If the partial decision by the TE Office is positive and there are no other impediments to the applicant’s entry to the country in terms of general order and safety, the Finnish Immigration Service will grant the applicant an employee’s residence permit or other type of residence permit.
A foreigner has a right to appeal against the decision in an administrative court. The employer also has the right to appeal as regards a partial decision by a TE Office.