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As from 1 January 2018, people coming to do seasonal work in Finland must apply for a permit

29.12.2017 13.15
Press release

From the beginning of 2018, people coming to Finland to do seasonal work must apply for the appropriate permit. Seasonal work refers to work in agriculture and tourism that is done at certain times of the year. The length of seasonal work can be nine months at most.

The types of seasonal work for which a permit is required include forestry, crop farming and festival work. A detailed list of seasonal work is available on the site of the Finnish Immigration Service. Forest berry pickers do not need to apply for a permit if they will work for less than three months.

Previously, seasonal workers in Finland did not need a permit for employment of less than three months. However, if they came from a country whose citizens are required to have a visa, they had to obtain a visa. Seasonal workers in Finland with jobs lasting more than three months had to apply for a residence permit for an employed person.

People coming to work for less than three months:

  • If you are coming from a country whose citizens are required to have a visa, apply for a seasonal work visa from a Finnish embassy.
  • If you are coming from a country whose citizens are not required to have a visa, apply for a seasonal work certificate from the Finnish Immigration Service.
  • If you are coming to pick forest berries, you do not need to apply for a permit for this work. However, if you are coming from a country whose citizens are required to have a visa, you must obtain a visa from a Finnish embassy.

People coming to work for three to six months:

  • Apply for a seasonal work permit from the Finnish Immigration Service

People coming to work for six to nine months:

  • Apply for a seasonal work permit from the Finnish Immigration Service. Decision-making involves two phases. First, the Employment and Economic Development Office issues a partial decision. Then the Finnish Immigration Service processes the application and decides on the permit.
  • The length of the employment relationship determines the duration of the permit granted.

Only citizens of countries outside the EU and ETA are required to have a residence permit

If you are a citizen of an EU country, Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein or Switzerland, you can work in Finland without a residence permit. If you stay in Finland for more than three months, you must register your residence.

Seasonal workers should apply to Kela for access to social security and health services

In order to gain access to social security in Finland, you must apply for it yourself by contacting Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. Your right to public health services will be decided at the same time. If Kela approves your application, you will get a certificate which you can present to get medical care. The certificate is called ‘Certificate of entitlement to medical care in Finland’.

Persons working in Finland for at least 4 months:

If you work in Finland for an uninterrupted period of at least 4 months, you are covered for social security in Finland provided you meet the following conditions:

  • you are paid a salary which is in accordance with the terms of the sectoral collective agreement, or at least 1,189 euros per month
  • you work at least 18 hours a week

Having social security coverage in Finland also means that you will be enrolled in the Finnish National Health Insurance scheme and will receive a Kela card. As a seasonal worker, you are not eligible for unemployment benefits.

Once you are enrolled in National Health Insurance, you can get public health services by paying the same client fee as local residents. You can get reimbursement for the costs of private health services and the medicines you buy, as well as for travel costs in connection with medical care. You can also acquire a European Health Insurance Card from Kela.

Persons working in Finland for less than 4 months:

If you work in Finland for less than 4 months and you are insured under the earnings-related pensions and worker’s compensation schemes, you can access public health services by paying the same client fee as the local residents.

However, because you are not insured under the National Health Insurance scheme, you cannot get reimbursements for medical expenses or a European Health Insurance Card.

You can seek emergency medical care directly from a healthcare provider

In emergencies, the public healthcare provider will contact Kela to check your right to medical care. Public healthcare providers can claim compensation from Kela if they provide care to a seasonal worker who is not registered as a resident of any Finnish municipality but who have received from Kela a certificate of entitlement to medical care in Finland.

Family members accompanying a seasonal worker who are not themselves employed in Finland have a right to public health services only if they are registered as a resident of a Finnish municipality. Child benefit and child home care allowance are not available for children accompanying a seasonal worker to Finland.

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