Employment and economic development offices (TE Offices) help jobseekers to find work in Finland. Most workplaces require at least tolerable Finnish language ability.
Work and Enterprise (in Finnish and English)
An unemployed immigrant is always entitled to an initial assessment and an integration plan. An integration plan may also be made as necessary for other immigrants, such as students or homemakers.
The initial assessment investigates such aspects as the immigrant’s previous education, work experience and language skills. An integration plan is an agreement on how the immigrant will learn about Finland, acquire relevant language competence and additional vocational skills, and otherwise gain the knowledge and abilities that are required for living in Finland. The integration plan will be drawn up by agreement between the local authority or the employment and economic development office and the immigrant concerned.
An immigrant will be eligible for labour market support, and for income support where necessary for the period of the integration plan.
Information on immigrant integration services (in Finnish and English)
Employment and economic development offices: Assessment and integration plan (in English)
European Union citizens (including citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) are free to work and seek work in Finland for up to three months without formalities of any kind. After this period they must register the fact that they are exercising their right to live in Finland as migrant workers, but they do not require any special worker’s residence permit for this purpose.
Registration is completed in person at one of the service points of the Finnish Immigration Service. The registration process may also be initiated online at enterfinland.fi, but this also requires attendance at a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service for identification purposes.
The registered right to live in Finland remains valid indefinitely unless this right is withdrawn. The worker may be granted the right to live in Finland permanently after five years of residence.
Electronic registration of an EU citizen (in Finnish and English)
Citizens of other countries must generally obtain a residence permit in order to work in Finland. A residence permit cannot be issued for working before you find a job in Finland.
Permit applications may be submitted to Finnish consular and diplomatic missions abroad and at police stations in Finland. Residence permit applications may also be submitted online at enterfinland.fi.
It is normally wiser to apply abroad and obtain the permit before arriving in Finland. A residence permit will not be granted for working in Finland unless the applicant’s income is adequate, which normally means that the job must pay a living wage in Finland.
It is also possible to work without a residence permit in certain occupations such as interpreting, teaching and professional sport, provided that this work is done under an invitation or contract and lasts for no longer than three months. Berrypickers may also work for up to three months without a residence permit. Even in these occupations, however, the worker will still need a current visa and travel document if this is a normal requirement for visiting Finland.
Online residence permit application (in Finnish and English)
Anyone moving to Finland permanently or on a temporary basis may request a Finnish identity number at a local register office. The identity number may also be requested when applying for a residence permit or registering the right of residence.
You will be entered as a resident of the district concerned after you have reported to the register office, which will also register your new domicile if you are moving to Finland permanently. This registration then brings entitlement to social services, health care and other services of the local authority.
Local Register Offices: Registration of foreigners (in Finnish)
Local Register Offices: Registration of foreigners (in English)
A Kela card certifies that the holder is covered by the Finnish health insurance scheme. Transactions at Kela (the Social Insurance Institution of Finland) are easier if you already have a Finnish identity number.
Further details of Finnish social security are available at Kela, which has local offices throughout the country.
Recognition refers to an official decision on the eligibility conferred by a foreign qualification for jobs and student admissions in Finland. A fee is charged for recognition of qualifications on application to the National Board of Education. Official recognition is not always required for student admissions.
The national languages of Finland are Finnish (the native language of 90 per cent of the population) and Swedish (the native language of a further 5 per cent). Various educational institutions and organisations arrange Finnish and Swedish language courses in Finland. The clients of employment and economic development offices may also enrol on language courses through these offices.
The online infopankki service provides details of courses in various languages.