Does a foreign employee need a residence permit before arriving in Finland, or can the permit be applied for later in Finland? Can a foreign expert work in Finland without a residence permit? These questions are often asked when the work should start as soon as possible.
An employer hiring from abroad must ensure that their foreign employees have the right to work in Finland during the entire employment period. The employer must also ensure that the right to work applies to the job in question, as in some cases the right is limited to certain jobs. The employer must keep information about the foreigner’s right to work even after the employment.
In principle, a residence permit is required to work in Finland if the employee comes from outside Europe. However, there are some cases where it is also possible to apply for a residence permit from Finland and the foreign expert can work in Finland for some time without a residence permit.
Normally, an employee has to apply for and wait for a residence permit in the country of origin, and only after receiving it, they can come to work in Finland. Below we list things that affect whether a residence permit can be applied for when an expert arrives in Finland, and whether it’s possible to work before the residence permit is issued.
Working as a foreign expert in Finland without a residence permit
According to the Aliens Act, a foreign employee may work temporarily in Finland without a residence permit only in certain work positions. These include, for example, some specialist positions that require special expertise. For a job to be considered such a specialist job, both the job and the employee must meet the criteria defined by the Finnish Immigration Service.
Even in these positions, the right to work without a residence permit lasts for a maximum of three months, in some cases less. Therefore, the application process for a residence permit should start as soon as possible after arriving in Finland, if the employee intends to continue working for a longer period. In some cases, we recommend applying for a residence permit, even if the expert’s contract lasts only three months.
Also in those cases where a residence permit is not required to enter Finland or start work, the employer must always ensure that the employee can reside legally in Finland. This depends, for example, on which country the employee comes from and whether he already has a visa. Those coming from a visa-free country are allowed to work in Finland during the visa-free period if the criteria set for the job are met. Holders of a valid visa or Schengen residence permit may also work, provided that there are sufficient days left in the visa or Schengen residence permit. Calculating these is not always simple, so it is good to seek a professional’s advice.
We are often asked what is the difference between a visa and a residence permit. As a general rule, the visa is only for a short stay and not for work at all. Some countries also have work visas, so the concepts are often confusing for the applicants. Read more in our blog post. A work permit is also used in many countries, but not in Finland – read more about this topic here.
How to ensure the foreign expert’s right to work?
It is very important that the foreign employee’s permit matters are managed correctly. There are risks involved in starting work without a residence permit, and it must be managed properly.
Permit issues are sometimes complex, and policies depend on many things. For example, choosing the right type of permit and submitting the necessary attachments requires expertise. Applicants can easily make mistakes when they try to apply alone.
Independently conducted residence permit processes are often slow, which is of course problematic for both the employee and the employer. Experienced expert can handle the permit processes correctly and quickly. FRS customers usually receive residence permits even below the target time.
Particularly during the corona epidemic, immigration processes and rapidly changing situations have required the help of an experienced professional. Without our help, many international recruitments would not have been possible.
Do you need help with your employee’s permit matters? Contact us!
Read more:Finland, immigration, officials, residencepermit, work-based immigration