New Startup Permit to brighten up Finnish entrepreneurial ecosystem

As of 1.4.2018, non-EU nationals can apply for a Finnish Startup Permit. The new residence permit may be granted if the applicant has or will establish a startup business in Finland.


Previously the Finnish startup ecosystem has not seen many foreign entrepreneurs. The change in legislation is expected to bring about some stimulation to the market. The talent and creativity that comes along with international entrepreneurs is crucial for the development of the market. Many other countries have been offering similar high-demand residence permits for some time now. Although a smooth permit application process alone will not attract foreign talent, it does signal to the world that Finland is in the game to invest in its startup scene.


Jukka Häyrynen, the Executive Director for Startups at Business Finland, says “There hasn’t been a way that has enabled specifically startup-based immigration. Small-scale, sole proprietorship provided a possibility for a residence permit, but establishing corporations did not provide grounds for immigration.”


Häyrynen identifies international students in Finland as the second targeted group for the new permit. The goal is to increase the number of international students staying in Finland and becoming entrepreneurs. The new permit presents motivation for foreign entrepreneurship that can be beneficial for the national economy.


The role of Business Finland in the formulation of the new permit is critical. Applications for the permits will not be processed without an Eligibility Statement from Business Finland. The Finnish Immigration Service does not evaluate the application’s business model. The startup’s business model must be feasible and the prerequisites for success must be identifiable. Additionally, the model must be scalable internationally.


The decision should be delivered approximately within a month. The applicant is generally granted a continuous permit that is valid for two years. The applicant’s family members can simultaneously apply for residence permits at the same time. If the Startup Permit is granted, the company can apply for funding from Business Finland. An approved permit does not guarantee funding.


The applicant can apply for a permit extension, if the grounds for startup entrepreneurship continues. The startup must continue to have potential for fast international growth.


Jukka Häyrynen’s thoughts on the matter can be found in Finnish in Kauppalehti.


Sources: Ministry of Internal Affairs, Kauppalehti, Helsingin Sanomat, Finnish Immigration Service

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