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Töihin Suomeen

Work in Finland

Published04.05.2023
If you are a citizen of a country that is not an EU member state or one of the Nordic countries, you need a residence permit for Finland. If you apply for a residence permit based on work, you must first find a job in Finland.

Before a residence permit can be granted to you, you must find a job in Finland. When you have found a job, you can apply for a residence permit.  To work in Finland, you normally need either a residence permit for an employed person or some other residence permit entitling you to work. The type of permit depends on what kind of work you will be doing.

Residence permit for an employed person

You will need a residence permit for an employed person (työntekijän oleskelulupa), if you are not permitted to work on the basis of another residence permit or without one. A residence permit for employed persons is not necessary for all jobs. At the website of the Finnish Immigration Service, you can check on what kind of residence permit you need.

For example, a residence permit for an employed person is required for the following jobs:

  • cooks
  • cleaners
  • home-helpers or childminders

The Finnish Immigration Service decides on whether or not you will be granted a residence permit. For a residence permit, a partial decision issued by the Employment and Economic Development Office (TE Office) is also needed.

Other residence permits for working

For some jobs, you will not need a residence permit for an employed person, but will need a residence permit for a specific job. These jobs include, for example

  • corporate leadership positions
  • specialist posts
  • researcher posts
  • work in the field of science, culture or the arts
  • traineeships.

The Finnish Immigration Service will decide on whether or not you will be granted a residence permit. For a residence permit, you do not need a decision issued by the Employment and Economic Development Office (TE Office).

Link redirects to another websiteFinnish Immigration Service

Working in Finland

Seasonal worker’s residence permit

If you come to Finland for seasonal work, you need a seasonal work permit. Seasonal work can last up to 9 months. Examples of seasonal work:

  • plant growing
  • forestry work
  • festival work

If you are coming to work for less than three months from a country whose citizens are required to have a visa, you must apply for a seasonal work visa from a Finnish embassy. If your work will last over three months, apply to the Finnish Immigration Service for a seasonal work residence permit.

Link redirects to another websiteFinnish Immigration Service

Seasonal worker permit

Working based on another residence permit

If you already have a residence permit for Finland based on some other grounds, such as family ties, you may have the right to work. In this case you will not need a specific residence permit for working. You can check from your residence permit card and your residence permit decision whether you have the right to work in Finland.

Link redirects to another websiteFinnish Immigration Service

Right to work

If you have completed a degree or research in Finland

If you have completed a degree or research in Finland, you can apply for a residence permit for job search. The permit can be granted for a maximum of two years. The permit must be applied for no later than five years after the expiration of the student or researcher residence permit. 

If you find a job in Finland, you should apply for a residence permit intended for those who have completed a degree in Finland. You can apply for this permit even if you left Finland after graduation. In order to be granted the permit, you must have a signed employment contract. 

You can work in any field if you are granted a residence permit on the basis of your degree. Usually, this right is not included in residence permits for work purposes.

Applying for a residence permit

You must apply for the first residence permit before you come to Finland.

You can apply for a permit online through the Enter Finland service. After applying, you must visit the closest Finnish diplomatic mission to prove your identity, and present original copies of the application appendices. You must visit a Finnish diplomatic mission within three months of submitting the application online. The application cannot be processed until you have visited the Finnish diplomatic mission. You usually need to make an appointment in advance to visit a Finnish diplomatic mission.

Remember to check your Enter Finland account regularly. If further clarifications are needed for your application, you will be informed through your account.

If you are unable to apply online, you can bring a paper form and its appendices to the closest Finnish diplomatic mission. You can print out the application form from the Finnish Immigration Service website.

Processing of the residence permit application is subject to a fee. You must pay this fee when you submit your application.

Employer’s role in the permit process

The employer has an important role when an employee applies for a residence permit. The employer must notify the Finnish Immigration Service of the terms and conditions of employment, in other words the details of the job and the company.

When applying for a residence permit based on work, ask your employer to fill in the terms and conditions of employment through the employer's Enter Finland service or to provide you with a Terms and Conditions of Employment form on paper that you can attach to your application. The processing of your residence permit application begins only after the terms of employment have been attached to the application.

Please note that the employer cannot apply for a residence permit on your behalf. They can only supplement your application for their own part through the Enter Finland service.

While the processing of your first residence permit is ongoing, you do not usually have the right to work. Information on the right to work is available on the application page of the Finnish Immigration Service.

Wait for the decision on your residence permit at the same place where you applied for it and visited to prove your identity.

Applying for a special expert’s residence permit

If you come to Finland to work as a specialist, you can apply for a residence permit via the fast-track service. The fast-track processing time for an application is at maximum two weeks. Specialists include IT specialists and higher education graduates who come to Finland for a job requiring special professional skills.

Your spouse and children can also apply for a residence permit via the fast-track service if they apply at the same time as you.

In order for your application to be processed via the fast-track service, you must apply for a permit electronically through the Enter Finland service. You must also pay for the application through the Enter Finland service. After applying, you must visit the closest Finnish diplomatic mission to prove your identity within five working days of submitting the application.

You can arrive in Finland as soon as you have received a positive decision on your permit application, even if you have not yet received your residence permit card. The residence permit card can also be mailed to you in Finland. However, you may need a visa for Finland if you do not yet have your residence permit card. 
If you need a visa for Finland, you can apply for a D visa. With a D visa, you can enter Finland without a residence permit card as soon as your residence permit has been granted. Apply for a D visa simultaneously with the residence permit through Enter Finland. If you come from a visa-free country, you do not need a D visa.
More information on the specialist’s permit and D-visa is available on the Finnish Immigration Service website. 

Finnish personal identity code

If you are granted a residence permit for Finland, you will be automatically registered in the Finnish Population Information System. You will receive a Finnish personal identity code at the same time.

When you have moved to Finland, you must visit the nearest service location of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency to register as a resident. Read more on the InfoFinland page Registering as a resident.

Working without a residence permit

Regardless of your nationality, in some cases you may be able to work in Finland without a residence permit. You must, however, have a valid visa, if you need a visa to reside in Finland. You can work in Finland without a residence permit if, for example:

  • you come to Finland on the basis of an invitation or contract to work as an interpreter, teacher, expert or a sports referee for a maximum of three months
  • you are a permanent employee of a company operating in an EU/EEA state and are coming to Finland to perform temporary purchasing or subcontracting work, and your work will not take more than three months
  • you are residing in Finland as an asylum seeker and have valid travel documents entitling you to cross the border. You can work without a residence permit when three months have passed since you submitted your asylum application
  • you are residing in Finland as an asylum seeker and you have no valid travel documents entitling you to cross the border. You can work without a residence permit when you have resided in the country for six months

You can check at the Finnish Immigration Service website whether you can work in Finland without a residence permit.

Link redirects to another websiteFinnish Immigration Service

Working without a residence permit

Finding a job in Finland

Information on how to find a job in Finland is available on the InfoFinland page Find a job in Finland. More information for employees and entrepreneurs is available on the InfoFinland web page Work and Enterprise.

Work in Finland guide

The Suomi.fi website provides a guide for those moving to Finland to work. The guide explains what you need to do when moving to Finland to work.

Link redirects to another websiteMinistry of Economic Affairs and Employment

Coming to work in Finland