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A work visa is a necessary form of official authorisation sought by an individual (foreign national) to legally partake in full time employment in a country where he/she may not necessarily have the right to work/reside in. Typically a work visa will be in the form a standard document or a stamp in your passport and the process of obtaining a visa can be a highly time consuming experience. Depending on your nationality you may not be required to obtain a work visa. Generally all jurisdictions with reciprocal treaty agreements do not stipulate that an individual must obtain a work visa for undertaking employment in those countries. Each jurisdiction provides set conditions which need to be satisfied in order to be approved a work visa and residence permit.
Applicants of Full EU status are not required to obtain a work permit to enable them to engage in full time employment in Finland. However there are some nationalities that are required to register with the Finland employment office, these EU nationalities are typically the countries who became a member of the EU after 2004. For a period of up to 3 months, EU citizens can reside and work in Finland freely under the freedom of movement act. Where the applicant intends to remain in Finland for a period longer than 3 months, he/she is required to register themselves at their local Finland police station for their right to reside in Finland. Registering your right to reside in Finland is different to requiring a residence or work permit. EU nationals are exempt form this prerequisite.
Non-EU citizens (foreign nationals) are required to obtain a work permit and residence visa from the Finland immigration Authority prior to coming to Finland to engage in full time employment.
It must be noted that the application of a Finland work and residence visa is the full responsibility of the applicant. Working in Finland when you do not hold a work permit will lead to deportation and implications of fines for both the applicant and the employer.
Finland has entered into a reciprocal agreement with Australia and New Zealand which entitles citizens of Australia and New Zealand to reside in Finland and take up temporary employment to support their stay for a maximum period of 1 year.
A Finland residence permit will provide the holder to engage in full time employment, inevitably acting as a work permit also.
Applicants who are a Non-EU/EEA citizen and who intend to reside in Finland for employment purposes are required to obtain a ‘residence permit for an employed person’. This particular type of permit is typically granted to individuals seeking to accept a job offer of employment within a specialist field in Finland. The holder of a Finland residence permit is therefore entitled to change his/her employment provided he/she is still working within the original specialist field that the applicant obtained the permit under in the first place.
A Finnish work permit will generally be approved where there are not enough Finnish nationals residing in Finland who could take on this line of work. The applicant’s level of skill, education and expertise will also be a deciding factor on the approval of a work permit.
Where the holder of a Finland residence permit has resided in Finland for a period of 4 consecutive years, he/she is eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit.
A Finnish residence permit can be in the form of a fixed-term permit or a permanent residence permit depending on your situation.
Permanent residence permit – is granted for an indefinite period of time provided all conditions are satisfied. The main condition is that the applicant has resided in Finland for a minimum period of 4 years without disruption.
Fixed-term Permit – is granted to the applicant according to their employment intent in Finland, for example, the applicants residence will either be a ‘temporary’ or ‘continuous’ residence. If you are a holder of a fixed term permit your validity is always be stipulated for a specific amount of time. The initial validity of a fixed term permit is for a period of 1 year, extendable on expiry. If you are a holder of a ‘continuous’ permit you are eligible to extend it to a further 4 years however if you are a holder of a ‘temporary’ fixed term permit you can only extend the visa for a period of 1 year.
The following categories of jobs are not necessary to obtain a work permit provided the employment is for a period of no longer than 3 consecutive months.
The applicant must remain in Finland for a period of 4 consecutive years to qualify for a permanent residence permit and they are required to live in Finland for at minimum of 50% of their time.
Both a fixed term and permanent residence permit can be revoked from the holder where;