A specialist is a person who comes to Finland to work with expert tasks that require special expertise. Specialists include, among others:
experts in some field of specialisation who have a higher education degree
other persons with a higher education degree whose work requires expert knowledge.
As a rule, a specialist must have a higher education degree.
Specialists are required to have a higher education degree, and their salary must be higher than average. Their tasks must require special expertise. Granting a residence permit for a specialist does not require labour market testing, whereas for a residence permit for an employed person it is performed.
Another difference is that a specialist can start working in Finland already during the application process, if he or she has arrived in Finland with a visa or visa-free and has submitted the application for a residence permit for a specialist in Finland. However, this right to work will end after three months at the latest, or even earlier if the visa expires.
Conversely, a person who applies for a residence permit for an employed person does not have the right to work before the permit is granted.
A specialist must have a higher education degree and a signed employment contract or a binding job offer. The tasks of a specialist must require special expertise, and the salary must be higher than average.
The requirement of a higher than average salary means that a specialist’s gross income must be at least EUR 3,000 per month. The salary required for a specialist for the duration of a one-year residence permit is approximately EUR 36,000, regardless of how many days the specialist is staying in Finland during the validity of the permit.
Taxable fringe benefits provided by the employer can usually be counted towards the specialist’s salary. These fringe benefits may be, for instance, a company car or a housing benefit. However, fringe benefits accounting for an exceptionally large proportion of the salary may be considered conspicuous. The amount of fringe benefits is usually considered exceptionally large if the fringe benefits account for more than half of the salary, or if their amount exceeds the taxable value of a full board benefit as determined by the Tax Administration. A certificate of the taxable value of the fringe benefits must be presented.
When assessing the gross income, daily allowances or other similar compensations for travelling or for the costs caused by residing in Finland will not be counted towards the specialist’s salary.
If an applicant does not have a higher education degree but still wants to apply for a residence permit as a specialist, the application must clearly explain why the work is an expert task that requires special expertise and why the applicant is qualified for the work. Special expertise can also be shown through an extensive employment history, in which case the applicant must submit his or her curriculum vitae, certificates of employment and other certificates of his or her studies in the field. It is always decided case by case whether an applicant who does not have a higher education degree meets the requirements for special expertise.
Obtaining a residence permit as a specialist is possible only if the specialist’s gross income is at least EUR 3,000 per month. If the salary is lower than that, the applicant needs to apply for a residence permit for an employed person. If the applicant is a consultant who is coming to Finland for no more than a year, he or she can apply for a residence permit as a consultant with the same application form than specialists. In that case, he or she must state clearly as additional information in the form that he or she is applying for a residence permit as a consultant.
No, labour market testing is not applied to those applying for a residence permit as a specialist.
Yes, that is possible if the specialist has arrived in Finland with a visa or visa-free and has submitted an application for a residence permit for a specialist in Finland. However, this right to work will end after three months at the latest, or even earlier if the visa expires.