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What should I know about working in finland?

  • Your country of origin, the work to be performed and its duration influence on what kind of permits you will need
  • The employment and salary requirements are equal for immigrants and Finns
  • Finland’s working culture is founded on equality
  • A majority of Finnish employees belong to a trade union
  • Trade unions provide assistance in legal matters, salary and career planning, for example
  • All employees has earnings-related pension, unemployment and accident insurance
  • The right to Finnish social security depends on how long they will reside in the country.
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Job search and permits

Start your job search already before you move to Finland. There are multiple channels for job search in Finland and it’s recommended to use all available channels in your job search. Information about jobs can be found on the internet, social media and newspapers, for example.

A big percent of available jobs are ”hidden” and are not publicly listed. If you find an interesting job or company, contact the employer directly. Many employers hire nowadays via LinkedIn or headhunters, but be prepared with at least your updated CV, often also cover letter. Start networking early!

Academic qualifications: when applying for assignments or posts in the public sector, The National Board of Education decides on the recognition of foreign academic qualifications.

If you are starting your own business, contact an Employment and Economic Development Office adviser. To ensure income, you might be eligible to receive start-up money.

Unemployment benefits:
Citizens of an EU or EEA member state or Switzerland: If you have been unemployed for at least four weeks in your country of origin before arriving to Finland and you are looking for a job in Finland, you may claim an unemployment benefit from your country of origin fir a period of three months. In longer periods you must register your right of residence. Contact your the agency responsible for unemployment benefits in your country of origin for more details.

Permits:
EU and EEA citizens: you are entitled to work and practice a profession in Finland equally with Finnish citizens
Non-EU/EEA: before you can start working in Finland must you have a residence permit. You must already be employed when applying for a residence permit.

Find about different permits before you move to Finalnd. It depends on the type of your job, length of your stay and country of origin what permits you need.

The rules of the workplace

The rules of the workplace are equal between foreign immigrants and Finnish citizens, including for example salary. The finnish working culture is completely founded on equality. Also supervisors and employees treat each other as equals.

All employees has the right to organise trade unions, have a safe working environment, receive a salary in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement and to be treated as an equal.

Typical to the finnsih working life is speaking directly, getting right to the point and making agreements (and keeping them!). For example being late is considered rude. Employees follow their supervisors instructions by performing their work thoroughly. Employers are responsible to offer preventive occupational health care, but many employers provide their employees also medical services.

Regular working time in Finland is no more than 40 hours a week and 8 hours a day. Exceptions may be agreed in collective bargaining agreements between trade unions or in employment agreements between the employer and employee.

Unionizing

A majority of Finnish employees belong to trade unions. Members receive benefits and services in return to the payed dues. Trade unions are are organized into three trade union confederations. The trade union confederation for those with high-level education is Akava, the Confederation of Unions of Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland. Akava has 36 affiliates and about 613 000 unionised members. The members do not join Akava directly, instead they join one of Akava’s affiliates based on field of study, degree, profession or position. Akava has also more than 100 000 student members.

YTN (the Federation of Professional and Managerial Staff) is Akava’s private sector negotiations organisation in charge of negotiations and agreement operations for senior salaried employees in industry, business and service sectors.

Trade unions provide assistence in different issues and questions in working life. For example salary claims and legal means, career coaching, networking etc. You may also belong to the union’s unemployment fund. As a member you are entitled to receive a higher daily unemployment allowance.

Unemployment security and pension

In Finland, all employees has earnings-related pension, accident and unemployment insurance. The other pension system in Finland, in addition to the earnings-related pension, is the national pension scheme, which guarantees a minimun level of income.
Private pension institutions and the Finnish Centre for Pensions provide the earnings-related pensions.

The accident insurance is provided by private insurance institutions and the Federation of Accident Insurance institutions.

Unemployment insurance and Social security are jointly funded by employers, employees and the State. Employers collect employees’ contribution from their salary. If you are an unemployed jobseeker, is your basic income secured with a daily unemployment allowance (either basic unemployment allowance or earnings-related allowance) or labour market subsidy. To be eligible for the daily unemployment allowance, you must be unemployed and registered as a jobseeker with a TE Office. Contact you nearest office for details.

Finnish social security

The right to Finnish social security depends on how long you will reside in Finland. The right to social security may also be granted based on work being performed, for example if there is no intention of moving to Finland permanently. All permanent residents of Finland are entitled to the social benefits provided by Kela.

If the immigrant (based on EU legislation or a social security agreement or are covered by social security in another country) receives benefits from another country, will the right to Finnish social security not be granted.

Immigrants must apply to Kela to gain access to Finnish social security. Kela provides also a Kela card to all persons, that belong to the Finnish health insurance system.

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