Hiring migrant workers in Finland is a great solution to the country’s labor shortage.
With its population aging, Finland is making an all-out effort to attract foreign employees, with the goal of achieving a twofold increase in their number by 2030, as highlighted by Le Monde.
Especially in sectors such as healthcare services, restaurant and catering, construction, and home-based personal care, there is a notable shortage of labor availability.
However, recruiting and hiring migrant workers in Finland involves various legal obligations.
Read on to learn what you need to do as an employer to meet the requirements of the Finnish Immigration Service and legally employ workers from abroad.
6 Steps to Hiring Migrant Workers in Finland
If you wish to hire employees from abroad, you must know that EU and EEA workers are allowed to work in Finland without a work visa or permit.
However, if you wish to hire non-EU and EEA nationals, you must ensure they have a valid residence permit.
The process of recruiting and hiring foreigners in Finland is relatively straightforward.
This is because workers must apply themselves for a residence permit, using the employment-related information you provide them with.
Below are the exact steps you must take to comply with the Finnish labor law when employing foreigners in the country.
Step 1: Conduct a Labor Market Test
Depending on the type of residence permit your prospective employee qualifies for, you may need to conduct a labor market test. This enables you to to verify the non-availability of EU workers to fill the vacancy.
For instance, a labor market test is necessary for a residence permit for an employed person (TTOL). This is the most common type of residence permit in Finland. You may also need to conduct a labor market test if you intend to hire non-EU migrant workers in Finland for seasonal work for a period longer than 6 months.
To test the labor market, you must advertise the role to Finnish and EU/EEA workers.
This can be done through:
- The E-services of TE Services
- The EURES portal
- Other free or paid recruitment services available in the EU and EEA
- The company’s website and social media channels
- Other channels, such as magazines or local newspapers
Make sure the job post includes specific information about the employment. Such information includes a job description, salary range, occupational title, and educational requirements.
If you have any questions regarding the content of the job ad, you have the option to contact TE Services for support and guidance.
Following an evaluation, a TE office will issue a partial decision. Next, the Finnish Immigration Service will make a decision on your application.
Step 2: Check If You Need an Employer Certification
If you’re looking to hire a large number of workers from abroad, you may want to consider applying for an employer certification.
This can benefit you in many ways, including:
- Shortening the time it takes to process the work permit applications
- You don’t need to provide company information and terms of employment separately for each application
- Workers can apply for a D national visa that allows them to travel to Finland upon approval of their residence permit
To apply for an employer certification, you must meet specific requirements, such as:
- The company has fulfilled its obligations as an employer
- Your terms of employment comply with current laws and regulations
- Over the previous three years, your employees received a minimum of 10 work-related residence permits, out of which at least three have been renewed
- The company has been financially stable over the previous three years
- The company’s average annual turnover has been at least one million euros for each accounting period
To submit the application, you must log in to Enter Finland for Employers. Alternatively, you can submit a paper application.
The electronic application fee is € 140, while the paper application fee is € 195.
The processing time for an employer certification application is 1-2 months.
Step 3: Start Recruiting Internationally
If no EU citizen is available to fill the position, you may search for workforce abroad.
This can be done by posting a job ad on recruiting platforms such as VideoWorkers. This allows you to access a large database of top-notch candidates with the right skills and experience.
After finding the right migrant workers to hire in Finland, you can provide them with a job offer.
Step 4: Check What Type of Residence Permit You Need
Finland is offering a wide range of residence permits, depending on the type of work your prospective employee will be performing.
For example, your prospective employee can apply for:
- Residence permit for an employed person (TTOL) – For individuals working in specific fields, such as construction workers, restaurant workers, cleaners, etc.
- Residence permit for seasonal work – This permit is for workers coming to work in Finland short-term (3 to 9 months) in various fields such as agriculture, tourism, or forestry.
- Residence permit for au pairs – For individuals aged 17 to 30 coming to work in Finland as au pairs.
- Residence permit for internship – For foreign nationals who will engage in an internship or volunteer work. This type of residence permit also applies to individuals who will be participating in a Working Holiday as nationals of Australia, New Zealand, or Japan.
- Residence permit for a researcher – This type of residence permit is for people who will be conducting scientific research in Finland.
- Residence permit for an athlete or a coach – For foreign nationals working as athletes, coaches, or referees.
- Residence permit on the basis of other employment – This is a residence permit for people who will be traveling to Finland for various work purposes. Such reasons encompass activities like serving a religious community, installing a machine or device, practicing journalism, consulting, and more.
- Residence permit for specialists – For highly skilled workers with special expertise. As specialists, some individuals may also qualify for an EU Blue Card with this application. An EU Blue Card is a work permit for highly-skilled third-country nationals looking to migrate to Europe.
Step 5: You and Your Future Employee Complete the Application for a Residence Permit
The application process for a residence permit starts with submitting the application via Enter Finland.
While your employee is the one responsible for submitting the application, you as an employer must still fill in the terms of employment.
Each type of work permit may have different requirements and fees.
For example, for a residence permit for an employed person (TTOL), the following steps are required:
- Your prospective employee must log in to Enter Finland and attach the following documents:
- Valid passport
- Passport photo
- Documents stating they are legally residing in the country where they submitted the application
- Form MP1
- You as an employer must pay the application fee on behalf of the worker
- As an employer, you must use Enter Finland for employers and fill in the terms of employment. You can do this immediately after the worker has submitted the application online via Enter Finland.
You can track the application using the Finnish Immigration Services’ chatbot Kamu.
If you or your prospective employee cannot use Enter Finland, you may submit a paper application. However, the fee for a paper application is higher than the fee for an electronic application.
Specifically, the fee for an electronic application is € 490, while the fee for a paper application is € 740.
The average processing time for a residence permit for an employed person (TTOL) is 2 months.
Important note: After submitting the application, the worker must visit a Finnish Embassy or Consulate in their place of residence to prove their identity.
In some cases, your worker might also be able to apply for a D-type national visa.
Step 6: Your Future Employee Applies for a National Visa (for Certified Employers)
If you are a certified employer, migrant workers have the option to apply for a work visa for Finland (National Visa, type D).
Your employees can also apply for a National Visa if they are planning to work in Finland under specific residence permit categories. These categories include work permits for specialists, researchers, or intra-corporate transfers, among others.
Securing a National Visa enables them to travel to Finland right after receiving a positive response to their residence permit application, a full 100 days before the residence permit becomes effective.
However, it’s important to note that your employees are not allowed to start working before having a valid residence permit.
There are two ways they can apply for a Finland work visa: via the fast-track service or without the fast-track service. The fast-track service is offered by the Finnish Immigration Services and is designed to speed up the residence permit application procedure.
Additionally, your future employee has the option to apply for a D visa either at the same time they apply for a residence permit or after submitting a residence permit application.
The processing fee for a National visa for Finland that is submitted online is € 95, and the processing fee for a National visa that is submitted on paper is € 120.
Hiring Migrant Workers in Finland: Final Considerations
Finland is one of the best destinations for migrant workers, thanks to its growing employment sector as well as its excellent healthcare and social welfare systems.
Even though international recruitment in Finland may come with certain hurdles for newcomers in this field, the overall procedure is relatively straightforward compared to other EU countries.
Hopefully, this article has cleared up some common questions regarding the recruitment of migrant workers in Finland and provided some valuable insights into the Finnish employment laws.
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