If your residence permit is based on work, it may only give you the right to work for a certain employer or in a certain field of work. If you have been granted a residence permit for a certain field of work, you are usually permitted to change jobs freely if your residence permit has not expired and your new job is in the same field. If you have been granted a residence permit for a specific task, you are free to perform this task in the service of another employer.
If your residence permit only allows you to work for a certain employer or if you wish to change your field of work, you need to apply for a new residence permit.
Expanding your company’s operations into Finland is an exciting opportunity for growth. Whether you’re bringing employees from your parent company, hiring new candidates from other countries, or building a talented team with a combination of both, most of your employees will need to obtain a Finland work visa.
Types of Work Visas in Finland
Citizens of countries outside of the European Union (EU), Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and Liechtenstein will need to apply for a residence permit before working in Finland. The type of permit your employees will need depends on the nature of the work they’ll be doing for your company. The following three categories of Finnish work visas will be relevant for most companies:
- Business visa: A business visa permits the employee to stay in Finland for up to 90 days. This visa does not allow the employee to directly engage with work, however. A business visa does allow the individual to attend conferences and seminars. This visa may be relevant during the onboarding process for employees who will not be staying to work in Finland.
- Residence permit for self-employment: This permit may apply to some individuals within your company, including private entrepreneurs, partners, and members of a cooperative. Your business will need to be registered with the Trade Register at the National Board of Patents and Registration before this permit can be issued.
- Residence permit for an employed person: This visa is the most common type, and most companies will need to be familiar with it for expanding operations in Finland. There are three types within this category, which are Continuous (A), Temporary (B), and Permanent (P). Employees seeking residence in Finland for the first time should apply for a Temporary permit.
In June 2022, Finland also introduced a fast-tracked D Visa for specialists, start-up entrepreneurs, and their family members.
Requirements to Obtain Finland Work Visas
To obtain a working visa in Finland, each employee will need:
- An employment contract
- A valid passport and passport photo
- A residence permit for an employed person application
- Medical certificates
The process begins when the employee is offered a position with a company in Finland. An employment contract is necessary to live and work in Finland legally.
Before coming to Finland, the employee will need to apply for a residence permit, which can be done online through the Enter Finland service. Within three months of submitting the application, the employee must visit a Finnish diplomatic mission or embassy and present original copies of the application appendices, including fingerprints and supporting documents. If an employee is unable to apply online, they can print the application form from the Finnish Immigration Service website and bring it to the nearest Finnish diplomatic mission along with its appendices.
The merits of the application will be decided by the Employment and Economic Development Office. Finnish Immigration Service, or Migri, will make the final decision after making sure the employee meets all requirements for a residence permit. Both the employee and the employer will be notified of the decision through the mail.
Once approved, the employee will receive a residence permit card from the Finnish embassy. The first permit is valid for one year and can be renewed at a local police station in Finland.
Conclusion: Other Important Considerations
While employees who are citizens of EU member states and Switzerland do not need to apply for a residence permit to work in Finland, they do need to register their right to reside in the country. This process can be completed through the Enter Finland system. Citizens of Iceland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, the Nordic countries, do not need to register. However, they must notify their Local Register Office that they’re living in Finland.
Employees with a residence permit should be aware that they’re entitled to apply for permanent residence after five years of legally living and working in Finland.