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Asylum seeker’s right to work

As an asylum seeker, you are permitted employment only if you have a valid right to work. When you find a job, you must check whether your right to work has begun and whether it is still in force.

You must tell your employer immediately if your right to work is terminated. You may be committing an offence if you are employed but do not have the right to work.

Where can you find information on your right to work?

In the application process, asylum seekers are given a brochure, ‘Information on the right to work’, which tells them about when their right to work begins.

In the event that your asylum application is rejected, the decision will also tell you when your right to work will terminate. In the event that your asylum application is accepted, the decision will tell you about your right to work as based on your residence permit.

When does the right to work begin?

You are allowed to find paid employment after either three or six months have passed following your application for asylum.

  • The waiting period is three months if you have presented a valid passport or other travel document to the authorities, and it has been verified as genuine.
  • The waiting period is six months if you have not presented a travel document.

How does a re-application affect the right to work?

After 1 June 2019, if you submit a re-application you will have to wait another three or six months before you can work again. A re-application is an application submitted by an asylum seeker who has already received a decision on at least one earlier asylum application.

  • The waiting period is three months if you have presented a valid passport or other travel document to the authorities, and it has been verified as genuine.
  • The waiting period is six months if you have not presented a travel document.

If you submitted a re-application before 1 June 2019, you may continue working.

How long can the employment continue?

When you receive a decision, you must check whether your right to work is still valid. The decision will tell you this.

Was your asylum application accepted?

If your application was accepted, in most cases you may continue to work in Finland. Your residence permit card or decision will tell you whether you have the right to work in Finland.

Was your asylum application rejected?

If your application was rejected, your right to work will terminate as follows:

  • if the decision became enforceable before 1 June 2019, i.e. if it has been legally possible to remove you from the country since before that date, then your right to work will terminate when the decision acquires legal force.
  • If the decision was not enforceable before 1 June 2019, your right to work will terminate when the decision becomes enforceable, i.e. when it is legally possible to remove you from the country. This will be explained in the Finnish Immigration Service’s decision.

When does a decision acquire legal force?

A decision acquires legal force when any of the following conditions is met:

  • You have been notified of the decision and have not lodged an appeal with the Administrative Court within the appeal period of 21 days.
  • You have been notified of the decision of the Administrative Court and have not applied to appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court within the appeal period of 14 days.
  • You have received a decision from the Supreme Administrative Court on your application to appeal and on your appeal.

When does a decision become enforceable?

When a decision is enforceable, it means you can be legally removed from the country. A decision will tell you whether it is enforceable or not.

You can find further information on when you may be removed from the country here.

Employers are required by law to verify the right to work

An employer must verify that a foreign employee has the required employee’s residence permit or that s/he needs no residence permit.

An employer may be committing an offence if s/he deliberately or negligently employs an employee who does not have the right to work.

Employers can verify this by asking their employees about it. An employer may also request a certificate on an asylum seeker’s right to work.

Residence permit on the basis of work or self-employment

If you find a job in Finland, you can find information on residence permits on the basis of work or self-employment on the page: migri.fi/en/working-in-finland.