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Finland – Work Permits and Working Legally

Necessity of Work Permits for Expats in Finland

Working legally in Finland as an expat often requires obtaining a work permit, but there are exceptions based on nationality, occupation, and other factors. In this article, we will delve into the necessity of work permits for expats, who is responsible for the application, potential exemptions, and other crucial details related to working legally in Finland.

Who Submits a Work Permit Application

In Finland, the responsibility for submitting a work permit application generally rests with the employer who intends to hire an expat worker. The employer initiates the application process, compiles the required documentation, and ensures compliance with relevant regulations. However, expat employees also play a significant role in the process by cooperating with their prospective employer, providing necessary information, and attending appointments or interviews if required.

It is vital for both employers and employees to have a clear understanding of the specific requirements and procedures for obtaining a work permit in Finland.

Exemptions from Work Permits

While work permits are typically required for expats working in Finland, there are exceptions and specific categories of workers who may not need a traditional work permit. Some common exemptions and categories include:

  • European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) Citizens: Citizens of EU and EEA countries have the right to work in Finland without a separate work permit, thanks to the principle of free movement of labor within these regions.
  • Short-Term Employment: Some short-term employment activities may not necessitate a work permit, but there are limitations on the duration of such work.
  • Special Categories: Certain professionals, researchers, or individuals in specific fields may have simplified or expedited procedures for obtaining work permits.

Expats should thoroughly research these exemptions and verify their eligibility with the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) or seek legal counsel to ensure compliance with immigration regulations.

Types of Work Permits for Expats in Finland

Finland offers several types of work permits and visas to accommodate different categories of expat workers. The most common work permit categories include:


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  • Employee’s Work Permit: This permit is typically issued to expats who have received a job offer from a Finnish employer.
  • Entrepreneur’s Work Permit: Individuals planning to start their own businesses in Finland may apply for this type of permit.
  • Seasonal Work Permit: Seasonal workers, such as agricultural laborers, may obtain a permit for temporary employment in Finland.

Each type of permit or visa has its own eligibility criteria, requirements, and limitations. expats should consult Migri’s website or seek legal advice to determine the most suitable option for their situation.

Procedure to Apply for a Work Permit in Finland

Obtaining a work permit in Finland involves several key steps:

  1. Job Offer: expats seeking employment in Finland must secure a job offer from a Finnish employer. The job offer is a fundamental requirement for the work permit application.
  2. Employer’s Role: The Finnish employer initiates the work permit application process, compiles the necessary documentation, and submits the application to Migri.
  3. Document Submission: The expat employee, with support from their Finnish employer, submits the work permit application along with the required documents and fees to Migri.
  4. Processing Time: The processing time for work permits can vary depending on the type of permit and individual circumstances. Applicants should check with Migri or their employer for current processing times.
  5. Work Permit Approval: Once the work permit is approved, the expat employee is notified and can proceed with the next steps, such as obtaining a visa if required.

It is essential to follow the prescribed procedure diligently, provide accurate and complete information, and adhere to all deadlines to ensure a smooth application process.

Documents Required for a Work Permit Application

When applying for a work permit in Finland, expats and their employers must compile a set of documents to support the application. While the specific documents required may vary based on the type of permit and individual circumstances, common documents include:

  • Job Offer Letter: A formal job offer from the Finnish employer, outlining the terms and conditions of employment.
  • Valid Passport: A valid passport with an expiration date beyond the intended duration of stay in Finland.
  • Health Insurance: Proof of comprehensive health insurance coverage for the entire duration of the stay in Finland.
  • Passport Photos: Recent passport-sized photographs that meet specific requirements.
  • Educational and Professional Certificates: Copies of relevant educational and professional certificates or diplomas.
  • Application Forms: Completed application forms provided by Migri or relevant authorities.

Expats should be prepared to provide additional documents if requested during the application process. It is advisable to verify the specific document requirements based on the chosen permit or visa category.

Costs Involved in Applying for a Work Permit in Finland

Obtaining a work permit in Finland may involve various costs, which can vary depending on the type of permit or visa and individual circumstances. Common expenses related to work permits may include:

  • Application Fee: The fee associated with processing the work permit application, typically paid by the employer.
  • Visa Fee: If a visa is required in addition to the work permit, there may be visa application fees.
  • Legal Fees: Some expats choose to seek legal or immigration consultancy services, incurring additional fees.
  • Health Insurance: The cost of health insurance coverage, which is mandatory for all residents and workers in Finland.

Expats should budget for these costs and confirm the current fee structure with Migri or their employer to avoid any surprises during the application process.

Reliable Sources for Information on Working Legally in Finland

Expats seeking reliable information on working legally in Finland can refer to various sources:

  1. Finnish Immigration Service (Migri): The official website of Migri provides comprehensive information on work permits, visa requirements, and application procedures.
  2. InfoFinland: InfoFinland offers practical guidance on living and working in Finland, including information on permits and licenses.
  3. Expat Forums and Websites: Online expat communities and forums often provide valuable insights and advice from individuals with experience working in Finland.
  4. Public Employment and Business Services (TE Services): TE Services offers information on job opportunities and employment services in Finland.

Staying informed about the latest immigration policies and requirements is crucial, as they can change over time. expats should rely on official government sources and seek professional advice when necessary to navigate the complexities of obtaining a work permit in Finland.


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