The right to work must be verified

The employer is required to ensure that aliens entering his service and working in his employment have the right to work in Finland. This requirement also applies to clients in Finland (principal contractors or principal clients) in a situation where the foreign employees are contracted or subcontracted or agency workers in the employ of a foreign employer.

The grounds for the right to work must be verified before the employment contract is signed.

The right to work may be confirmed by a passport, other official travel document or residence permit card. In the case of a prospective employee, the grounds for his/her right to work must be ensured before the employment contract is signed.

Grounds for the right to work

A foreign employee may have the right to work in Finland on any of the following grounds:

  • citizenship of an EU or EEA Member State,
  • a valid residence permit for an employed person, or
  •  a residence permit is not required as per the Aliens Act.

Residence permit restrictions:

  • If the residence permit is granted for a fixed term, employment is only allowed while the residence permit is valid.
  • If the residence permit is specific to a particular sector, employment is only allowed in the sector entered on the residence permit.
  • If the residence permit is specific to a particular employer, employment is only allowed with that employer.

A residence permit may involve other restrictions. The following points must also be taken into account:

  • An application to extend a fixed-term residence permit granting the right to work must be submitted before the current residence permit expires. If the employee applies for a new residence permit after the previous one expires, employment is prohibited while the application is pending.
  • The employer may not apply for a residence permit for an employed person on behalf of an employee.

Further information: Working in Finland. The Finnish Immigration Service.

When is a residence permit not needed?

The Aliens Act lists a number of scenarios where employment in Finland is allowed without a residence permit for an employed person. These generally involve short-term jobs in science, culture or sports or in horticulture. Even in these cases, however, the right to work must always be confirmed with the Finnish Immigration Service.

Students have a limited right to work

A student is allowed to work on a student residence permit if such work is part of a traineeship required for a degree or is on a research paper required for the studies. A student may perform other kinds of work for 25 hours a week on average during the academic term and with full freedom at times when the educational institution offers no instruction.

Further information: Traineeship or transfer within a company. The Finnish Immigration Service.

Short-term stay in the Schengen Area

An EU Regulation lists the countries whose citizens do not require a visa for a short-term stay in the Schengen Area (to which Finland belongs). The length of a visa-free stay is basically 90 days from first entry. Since October 2013, the following principle has been observed in calculating the length of stay:

The following is defined as a short-term stay:

  • a stay in the Schengen Area lasting no more than 90 days
  • in any 180-day period.

The 180-day period preceding each day of the stay is taken into account in the calculation. In other words, the stay may not last more than 90 days within any given 180-day period.

Once this visa-free period has expired, the alien in question must apply for a visa or a residence permit.

Further information:

Travel documents. The Finnish Border Guard.

Schematic for calculating the length of stay (in Finnish). The Finnish Border Guard.

Migration and Home Affairs. Further information on how to calculate the duration of a short-term stay and a short-term stay calculator. European Commission online service.