Employer obligations when hiring foreign workforce in Finland

There is some uncertainty amongst employers about the employer’s requirements and obligations regarding hiring foreign professionals. As a rule of thumb it can be said, that a foreign employee is to be treated exactly as a Finnish employee working in similar post, including but not limited to requiring a tax card and a Finnish bank account. However, there are some additional obligations regarding foreign workforce that the employer must meet.

The first and most important obligation is to ensure the right of residence and gainful employment in Finland. A registered Finnish company that employs foreign nationals must ensure that the employees hold the right to gainful employment in Finland at the time of hiring as well as during the entire employment period.

Simply asking a foreign national if they have a valid permit does not absolve the employer from his or her responsibilities. The employer must keep information on the grounds for the foreigners’ right to employment. This is either a required and valid Residence Permit or the fact and proof of the fact that the employee does not need a Residence Permit. This information must be kept even after the employment relationship has ended and must be easily accessible if the occupational safety and health authorities conduct an inspection. It is worth noting, that for example the kela-card or tax card are NOT sufficient to fill the requirements. The employment contract must also mention if the employee is a so called “posted worker”.

The employment office has the responsibility to compile statistics of foreign workforce in Finland and the Regional State Administrative Agency along with the police act as the supervisory authorities. The employer must also inform the union representative and the health and safety representative of the foreign employees’ names and the applicable collective agreement.

Though there are additional obligations and steps to be taken when hiring foreign professionals, the benefits often outweighs the challenges. When new talent is properly integrated and cared for, if necessary with the aid of a professional, hiring foreign talent will pay back the investment in many ways.