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Permits and citizenship

Obligations of the employer when hiring foreign labour

Employer’s obligations
Verifying your employee’s right of residence
Verifying your employee’s right to work
If your employee does not have a right of residence or the right to work
Notify us of illegal employees
Employee’s rights

Employer’s obligations

As an employer, you must

  • make sure that a foreign employee has a right to reside in Finland
  • make sure that a foreign employee has the right to work in Finland
  • keep the information on your foreign employees and their working duties at the workplace so that the occupational safety and health authorities may inspect them if needed. More information about storing the information can be found on the website of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Finland. 

We also recommend that you remind your employee of applying for an extended permit before his or her current residence permit expires. 

  • If your employee does not apply for an extended permit before his or her first residence permit expires, his or her right to work will be interrupted. In this case, the employee will not be able to work. If the employee continues to work for you after his or her right to work has expired, you may both be committing a violation of the Aliens Act. 
  • If your employee applies for a residence permit before his or her first residence permit expires, the employee’s right to work will usually not be interrupted even if he or she has not yet received a decision on his or her application for an extended permit. You can read more in the section ‘Right to work while your application for an extended permit is being processed’.

Verifying your employee’s right of residence

You can check your employee’s right of residence by asking him or her to show you 

Your employee may be residing in Finland legally, even if he or she does not have the documents mentioned above. He or she may, for instance, be an asylum seeker or a seasonal worker residing in Finland for less than three months with a visa or visa-free. If your employee has a valid right to work in Finland, he or she usually also has a right of residence in Finland. However, this does not apply the other way around. Your employee may be residing in Finland legally, but might still not necessarily have a right to work in the employment that he or she intended to engage in. Therefore, you always primarily need to make sure that your employee has the right to work in Finland.

Verifying your employee’s right to work

An employee’s right to reside in Finland and his or her right to work are different things.  Your employee may be residing in Finland legally, but might still not necessarily have the right to work. You can check your employee’s right to work 

  • in a residence permit showing what kind of work the employee is allowed to do and how many hours a week he or she may work.
    • You will find comprehensive information about the right to work for persons with different kinds of residence permits on the page migri.fi/en/right-to-work. The right to work may be unrestricted, or restricted to certain professional fields. 
  • for a person who has applied for an extended permit by asking your employee to show his or her certificate of a pending application for an extended permit and his or her residence permit card. If your employee has applied for an extended permit before his or her first residence permit expired, the employee’s right to work is usually still valid, even if he or she has not yet received a decision on the application for an extended permit. You can read more on the page migri.fi/en/working-while-your-extended-permit-application-is-being-processed. If you are using Enter Finland for Employers and your employee is applying for an extended permit on the basis of work, you can check in the online service whether your employee has submitted an application for an extended permit or not. 
  • in your employee’s certificate for seasonal work.
  • for an asylum seeker by asking the asylum seeker himself or herself if he or she has the right to work, or from a certificate of an asylum seeker’s right to work. More information about an asylum seeker’s right to work can be found on the page migri.fi/en/asylum-seeker-s-right-to-work. If the asylum seeker does not have a certificate of his or her right to work, you can request a certificate in the role of the employer. More information about certificate requests can be found on the page migri.fi/en/certificate-requests. 

In some cases, an employee does not need a residence permit. In this case, the employee has a restricted right to work in certain professional fields for a maximum of 90 days. You can read more on the page migri.fi/en/work-without-residence-permit

British citizens have the right to work in Finland if 

they have lived permanently in Finland before 31 December 2020. They also have the right to work if they have arrived in Finland at the end of 2020. 

Their right to work will expire on 1 October 2021 if they do not apply for a right of residence under the withdrawal agreement by 30 September 2021. If an employee has already applied for a right of residence under the withdrawal agreement, his or her right to work is valid until he or she receives the decision on his or her application. If he or she is granted the right of residence under the withdrawal agreement, his or her right to work in Finland will continue without restrictions. 

If the employee is not granted the right of residence under the withdrawal agreement and he or she receives a negative decision, his or her right to work will continue until the decision is legally valid. 

British citizens do not have the right to work in Finland if 

they have arrived in Finland for the first time on or after 1 January 2021. They must apply for a residence permit and wait for a decision on their application. They do not have the right to work during the processing of the application. 

If your employee does not have a right of residence or the right to work

If you employ a foreign national who does not have a right of residence or the right to work, you may be committing an offence or a crime.

Administrative fine

If you employ a person who is residing in Finland illegally, you will be liable to an administrative fine. The fine ranges from EUR 1,000 to EUR 30,000 and is payable to the Finnish Immigration Service. The administrative fine is based on the Employment Contracts Act.

In some cases, you as the employer may also be obliged to pay for the expenses for returning the employee who has been residing in Finland illegally to his or her home country.

Violation of the Aliens Act

You may be committing a violation of the Aliens Act, for instance, if you

  • deliberately or through negligence employ a foreign national who does not have the right to work in paid employment 
  • give false or misleading information to the authorities. 

Notify us of illegal employees

You can notify the Finnish Immigration Service of an employer who has hired a third-country national who is residing in Finland illegally. Please use a separate form for the notification. Third-country nationals are citizens of countries other than the Member States of the European Union or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

Employee’s rights

Employees’ rights in Finland are supervised by

Employment performed in Finland must follow Finnish law and the international agreements that obligate Finland. As a rule, also a collective agreement is applied to the employment relationship. The collective agreement defines in more detail the rights and obligations applying to the employment, for instance the minimum wage. All this is done to protect the employee.