Finland has a reputation as a modern, highly progressive country. Taxes might be high, but the standard of living, healthcare, and social benefits are commensurate. If you are thinking of working in Finland, then there are many advantages. We will take a look below at some of your best options.Although Finland is not itself an EU member state, it has reciprocal arrangements with other European nations which are in the EU, so citizens of EU states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, do not need a residence permit in order to live and work in Finland.
If you are not a member of an EU nation, you will need to apply for a residence permit, otherwise if you work, you could be fined. There are specific residence permits for different work sectors, so you will need to make sure that you are applying for the right kind of permit. The Finnish Immigration Service runs an Application Finder website for you to be able to evaluate the correct sector.
You can also apply for a general residence permit for an employed person, in cases in which there is not a specific permit for your employment sector. This can become complicated: some permits will allow you only to work in a specified field, whilst others may restrict you to working for a particular employer. If your residence permit was granted on the basis of a particular job, your residence will come to an end when the job terminates.
Unlike some nations, your employer will not be able to apply for a residence permit for you: you must do this yourself. You can submit your application online or in person, but you will need to visit the Finnish Immigration Service at some point in order to have your fingerprints taken.
It will be to your advantage if you speak Finnish or Swedish, even though Finland, like its Scandinavian neighbours, has a high standard of English. Many Finnish companies, however, operate in Finnish.
Civil engineers are in demand, and so are nursing staff. Specialist medical practitioners will also be at an advantage: for instance audiologists and speech therapists. The social services sector currently has staff shortages, and there is a demand for cleaners, restaurant workers, and home care assistants. There is also a need for supervisors in the construction industry.
IT workers are oversupplied in Finland so if you have a background in the tech industry, this is not such a good choice of destination for you as some other nations. The country is also oversupplied with secretarial workers at the moment.
If you have a university degree and a TEFL qualification you can teach English and there is a demand, but education is a competitive environment in Finland and the job market might prove quite tough. However, it is reasonably well paid. Note that there is a preference for TEFL teachers from within the EU, who do not need to apply for a work permit, and this may prove to be the case in other sectors as well.
Typical working hours consist of 40 hours per week, 8 hours a day for 5 days (Monday to Friday). Employers are usually reasonably flexible about working times. However, legislation is changing in Finland to try and make working hours even more flexible, including changes to the työaikapankki (working hours bank), which some companies run: this works out your average working hours over an agreed length of time in weeks.
Overtime (either as leave or pay) will be arranged if you work more than the number of hours above.
An employee is entitled to two and a half weekdays of leave each full holiday credit month if the employment relationship has lasted for at least one year. The country also has 14 public holidays per year.
You will be entitled to 4 months of paid maternity leave and in addition, fathers may claim 2 months of paid paternity leave: Finland is generous in this regard.
Finland does not have a minimum wage applied overall, but each sector has legally binding minimum wages to which employers must adhere. These apply to expat workers as well as to Finnish employees. Average salaries are above €3300 per month.
Your spouse will be able to work in Finland as long as they are either a EU national, or, if from another part of the world, has the relevant residence permit. Your spouse will not automatically be able to work simply because they are your dependent.
Speculative applications are common, but you may want to go through one of the online recruitment agencies applicable to Finland. Alternatively, you can approach a company directly.
Job fairs outside Finland might be limited, but there are options online, including Finnish Labour Administration’s site (TE-Palvelut). This is in English although some of your search options may only be available in Finnish/Swedish.
You also have the option of the European Job Mobility Portal (EURES), which lists vacancies across the EU and other European states. In addition, specialized recruitment agencies (for example, for nursing) may also be helpful.
It is advisable but not essential to have a CV/resume in Finnish, particularly if you are applying to a branch of an international company in Finland.
Finnish employment law is regulated by a Non-Discrimination Act, which covers age as well as ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation among other factors. You should not therefore encounter questions at interview that breach this legislation.
You should not need to have copies of any diplomas or certificates translated into Finnish, but it is always a good idea as a general principle to have your qualifications apostilled.
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