Residence permit for startups to facilitate the immigration of entrepreneurs and experts to Finland
A new type of residence permit will be introduced for growth or startup entrepreneurs. The application process for an extended permit will also be simplified, and the validity period of a first residence permit for specialists will be extended. The Government submitted the new bill amending the Aliens Act for approval on Thursday 18 January. The President of the Republic is to approve the bill on Friday 30 January.
The aim is to make it easier for entrepreneurs and experts to move to Finland and thereby to promote economic growth and employment.
The competition for international experts is so intense that the residence permit system, along with other factors affecting moving to Finland, needs to be smooth. The new amendments are part of a wider package that the Government has introduced to facilitate the immigration and entrepreneurship of experts.
Company’s business model must show potential for rapid international growth
The aim is to make it possible for growth entrepreneurs to get a residence permit as quickly as possible. The residence permit will be issued by the Finnish Immigration Service but the applicant must obtain a business assessment from the Business Finland innovation funding agency before applying for a residence permit.
Business Finland will assess if the company’s business model shows potential for rapid international growth. The role of Business Finland is based on its role as a national authority and solid experience of startups. The Finnish Immigration Service will no longer assess business activities. Instead, it will make sure that the applicant has secure means of subsistence and there are no reasons related to national security that would hinder the issue of a residence permit.
The residence permit will be issued for a period of two years, after which it can be renewed. It will not take more than a few weeks to issue a residence permit.
Finnish startup permit based on the models of other countries
Finland has followed the example set by other countries such as Denmark in introducing a residence permit for startups. Several EU countries have introduced a separate residence permit for growth entrepreneurs. Studies show that it is not the residence permit systems that attract entrepreneurs but good business opportunities. The startup permit will, however, send a message that Finland invests in growth entrepreneurship by all available means.
Residence permit for entrepreneurs covers limited liability companies
The residence permits other than the permit for growth entrepreneurs will be changed so that in future it will also be possible to issue residence permits for entrepreneurs operating on a limited liability basis. At present, the permit can only be issued to self-employed people who have full personal liability for their business activities, for example entrepreneurs operating under a trade name. At the same time, the current name ‘residence permit for a self-employed person’ will be changed into ‘residence permit for an entrepreneur’.
In future, there will be two kinds of residence permits for entrepreneurs — a residence permit for a growth entrepreneur and a residence permit for an entrepreneur.
Specialists issued with a residence permit for two years
A first residence permit for a specialist can be issued for a period of two years instead of the current one year. This also applies to their family members. The requirement for issuing the permit is that the employment relationship is continuous and valid for at least two years.
Applications for an extended permit can be submitted online
The residence permit process will be streamlined so that applicants will no longer be fingerprinted when applying for an extended permit. It will thus be possible to apply for an extended permit online without visiting the Finnish Immigration Service.
This applies to all residence permits. This change will facilitate the residence permit process particularly for employees working in international companies as they have to travel a lot.
The legislative amendments will enter into force on 1 April 2018.
Jarmo Tiukkanen, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 606, [email protected]