A foreigner’s right to work in Finland is determined by one’s nationality. EU citizens are allowed to work in Finland without a residence permit as well as citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. However, a stay of more than three months must be registered with the Finnish Immigration Service. Nordic citizens must register with the Local Register Office. The applicant is responsible for registering his or her stay. A residence permit or visa issued by a Schengen country does not entitle to work in Finland with the exception of work specifically appointed in Section 79 of the Aliens Act.
An employee who is a national of a country other than the ones mentioned above, or a so-called third-country national, usually requires a residence permit for an employed person or another type of residence permit allowing one to work in Finland.
A non-EU citizen must apply for a residence permit for an employed person when he or she does not have another type of residence permit entitling him or her to work in Finland, no other specific residence permit can be granted for the work and the type of work cannot be performed without a valid residence permit.
The employer is obliged to ensure that a foreign worker has the right to work in Finland. The right to work can be checked from the residence permit card. If the employee does not have a valid residence permit, or if the employee's right to work is restricted to another line of work, the employer cannot employ him or her until an appropriate residence permit has been issued.
The Finnish Immigration Service provides information on the foreigners’ right to work and what kind of residence permit is needed for working or if work can be carried out without a residence permit.
If the application is the employee's first residence permit application or the application is in a different line of work than the residence permit previously granted to the employee, the employee cannot start work until the employee's residence permit has been issued.
The employee's residence permit is issued for a certain line of work specified on the card. In some cases the permit may be restricted to employment under a specific employer. The employee's residence permit card specifies the line of work in which the employee may work in. If the name of the employer is mentioned on the residence permit card, the foreigner may only work for this employer.
The employee may continue working during the application process for the extended residence permit if the extended residence permit is applied for before the end of the previous permit and the work continues with the same employer or within the same line of work.
An employer, who employs a non-EU citizen, shall promptly provide the TE Office with an account of the key terms and conditions of the employment relationship. This account must include an assurance stating that the terms and condition are in accordance with the current regulations and applicable collective agreement, or, if an applicable collective agreement cannot be applied, that they comply with the labour market practices for employees working in corresponding tasks. It is not necessary to provide such account or assurance if the person recruited is an EU citizen or a family member treated as such.
In order to fulfil this obligation, the employer must provide the TE Office with:
The obligation to provide the above-mentioned information is independent of the type of residence permit the employee possesses and also applies to employees working on a visa or those exempt from visa. The compliance of reporting foreign labour is supervised by the occupational safety and health authorities.
The notification can also be made electronically through the employer's Enter Finland.
In addition, the employer must inform the shop steward and the occupational safety and health representatives of the workplace of the foreigner's name and the applicable collective agreement. For this purpose, a form can be used which can be found on the occupational safety and health website of the Regional State Administration. The employer shall keep this information for four years after the end of the foreigner's employment.
If the employee works in contracting, subcontracting or hired labour, the obligations apply to the main contractor operating in Finland or the main commissioner of the work. The Act on the Contractor's Obligations and Liability When Work is Contracted Out applies to the commissioner when hiring both Finnish and foreign labour.