Guidelines for Hiring a Foreign Employee
When is a residence permit for an employed person required?
A foreigner’s right to work in Finland is determined by one’s nationality.
EU citizens are allowed to work in Finland without a residence permit, as well as citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. However, a stay of more than three months must be registered with the Finnish Immigration Service. Nordic citizens must register with the Local Register Office. The applicant is responsible for registering their stay. A residence permit or visa issued by a Schengen country does not entitle the holder to work in Finland with the exception of work specifically appointed in Section 79 of the Aliens Act.
An employee who is a national of a country other than the ones mentioned above, or a so-called third-country national, usually requires a residence permit for an employed person or another type of residence permit allowing one to work in Finland. An employee must apply for a residence permit for an employed person when they do not have another type of residence permit entitling them to work in Finland, no other specific residence permit can be granted for the work, and the type of work cannot be performed without a valid residence permit.
The employer must ensure the right to work
The employer is obliged to ensure that a foreign worker has the right to work in Finland. The right to work can be checked from the residence permit card. If the employee does not have a valid residence permit, or if the employee's right to work is restricted to another line of work, the employer cannot employ them until an appropriate residence permit has been issued.
The Finnish Immigration Service provides information on the foreigners’ right to work and what kind of residence permit is needed for working or if work can be carried out without a residence permit.
Right to work with a residence permit for an employed person
If the application is the employee's first residence permit application or the application is in a different line of work than the residence permit previously granted to the employee, the employee cannot start work until the employee's residence permit has been issued.
The employee's residence permit is issued for a certain line of work specified on the card. In some cases the permit may be restricted to employment under a specific employer. The employee's residence permit card specifies the line of work in which the employee may work in. If the name of the employer is mentioned on the residence permit card, the foreigner may only work for this employer.
The employee may continue working during the application process for the extended residence permit if the extended residence permit is applied for before the end of the previous permit and the work continues with the same employer or within the same line of work.
Employer’s obligation to report foreign labour
An employer who employs a non-EU citizen shall promptly provide the TE Office with an account of the key terms and conditions of the employment relationship. It is not necessary to provide such an account or assurance if the person recruited is an EU citizen or a family member treated as such.
The notification can be made electronically through the employer's Enter Finland service.
The notification can also be made by sending the TE Office a TEM0.54 attachment form and a copy of the employee's passport or residence permit card.
The employer must inform the shop steward and keep the information of the foreigner’s employment for four years after the end of the employment.
Submitting the application
The application for a residence permit for an employed person (TTOL) can only be submitted by the employee. The residence permit application is submitted electronically through the Enter Finland service or by submitting the relevant papers to a Finnish mission (embassy or consulate). If the employee is in Finland, the application may be submitted at any a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service. If the application has been submitted electronically, the applicant must visit a Finnish mission or a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service to prove their identity and present the original copies of the appendices to the application. If an extended residence permit has been applied for in the Enter Finland service, the applicant does not have to visit a service point to prove their identity and provide their fingerprints if strong electronic authentication has been used.
A residence permit application for an employed person must always be submitted along with the appendix form of the TE Office TEM054 in which the employer assures the key terms conditions of the employment relationship as required by the Aliens Act. The TEM054 appendix form attached to the application is electronically available to the TE Office and it does not need to be submitted separately to the TE Office. The TEM054 form lists the attachments that are most commonly needed to process a residence permit application. Attaching the listed attachments to an application will speed up the processing of the application at the TE Office.
Partial decision of the TE Office
A residence permit application for an employed person is processed in two stages. The TE Office makes a partial decision on the matter, after which the final residence permit decision is made by the Finnish Immigration Service.
The processing time of applications in TE Offices varies regionally according to the workload. Possible additional clarifications required from the employer and/or applicant might prolong the process. Each time the TE Office has to request further information or missing documents from the employer, the processing of the application is interrupted. Therefore, please ensure that all the attachments mentioned in the TEM054 form have been delivered along with the application.
The TE Office’s partial decision is based on an overall assessment, which includes assessing the availability of labour, the terms of the employment relationship, and both the employer and employee’s prerequisites. The employee’s income through gainful employment must also be secured.
Notification of the decision by the Finnish Immigration Service
The Finnish Immigration Service will notify the applicant of both the final residence permit decision and the partial decision made by the TE Office. The employer also always receives, at least, the partial decision and is informed of the outcome of the final residence permit decision.
Right of appeal
Appeals to the decision of the Finnish Immigration Service may be lodged with the Administrative Court. Both the applicant and the employer have the right to appeal. The employer can only appeal the partial decision. If the employer intends to make an appeal on the employee's residence permit decision, the employer must have a written power of attorney issued by the employee for that purpose.
Instructions on how to appeal will be attached to the decision you receive. The instructions specify which Administrative Court you may appeal to, the appeal period, the attachments needed, and the ways you may submit your appeal to the Administrative Court.