Finland invests in labour migration

Finland develops labour migration in different ways to better meet demand for labour in Finland. The Finnish population is ageing and the birth rate is insufficient to maintain population growth. This means that the working-age population is decreasing and some sectors lack workers. One solution to the problems facing the labour market and to the maintaining of the welfare society is immigration.

Competition fierce for the best talent

Finland, like other countries, competes for foreign entrepreneurs and other top talents. Start-ups and small and medium businesses have rapid recruitment cycles and one expert can have a major impact: the absence of a key player can jeopardise the success of a company and other jobs.

A well-functioning residence permit system makes it easier for companies to succeed. The Government aims to develop the processing of work-based residence permits so that the average processing time would be about one month. Making it easier for companies and top talents to come to Finland will also improve Finland’s competitiveness.

In spring 2018, the residence permit process for specialists was streamlined so that the first residence permit can now be granted for two years at a time instead of one year. At the same time, a residence permit for growth or start-up entrepreneurs was introduced It has attracted interest especially among technology sector specialists.

In recent years, the Finnish Immigration Service has strongly developed its electronic services and automatic processing of applications that facilitate and speed up the application and processing of residence permits.

Seasonal workers important to the agriculture and travel sectors

The basis for labour migration is to secure the availability of labour when it cannot be found domestically or on the European single market. Such workers include, for example, seasonal workers.

Seasonal workers are particularly important to the agriculture and travel sectors, where demand for labour fluctuates by season. The maximum length of seasonal work is 9 months.

Employees’ permit procedure divided between three administrative branches

As of the start of 2020, the Ministry of the Interior is no longer responsible for the administration of labour migration matters. This responsibility has been transferred to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. This transfer of duties was agreed on in the Government Programme. The objective is to link labour migration more closely to employment, industrial, innovation, education and training policies.

Roles and responsibilities of different administrative branches in the permit procedure:

  1. Ministry for Foreign Affairs: Finnish missions abroad accept applications and personal documents, and interview applicants.
  2. Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment: TE Offices are responsible for partial decisions included in the employee’s residence permit. This step involves an assessment of the availability of labour, terms of the employment, and the employer’s and employee’s ability to meet specific criteria.
  3. Ministry of the Interior: The Finnish Immigration Service makes the decisions in all permit matters.

The Ministry of the Interior does not process residence permit applications. Further information on employees’ residence permits can be found on the websites of the Finnish Immigration Service and the Employment and economic development services (TE Services).