As the number of residence permit applications to Finland has increased year by year and international workers, students and researchers are an important asset for innovation and growth, Finland wants to streamline the application process making entry into the country easier. The new amendments to the Aliens Act came into force on 23 February 2023 with the aim to further speed up and ease the process of applying for work-based residence permits in Finland. Increasing digitalization and automation in the application process are essential parts of the new amendments. The most significant changes in the Aliens Act concern the more responsible role of the employer in the application process and the certification of employers.
The employer has a new role in the residence permit process
The amendment clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the applicant, employer and the Finnish Immigration Service in work-based applications and the employer will have more responsibility concerning the application. The Aliens Act amendments emphasize that a special expert has special skills that have been obtained with education or other ways (for example with work experience). The employer should determine the competence and professional skills of the employee when hiring and setting the salary. The new minimum salary requirement for a special expert in 2023 is 3473 euros per month without fringe benefits. Additionally, the employer must now provide the terms of employment to almost all work-based applications. Due to the changes, the employee is not required to deliver as many attachments to the Finnish Immigration Service as before, as the most important information is received and examined already by the employer.
The employer will also be able to apply for a certification for the company if the domicile and place of business are in Finland. The certification includes an assessment of the employer’s ability to act as an employer, which means that the employer's background will be verified, and it will no longer be checked when lodging a residence permit application for an employed person. The first certification is issued for two years. A certified employer will not need to report the information of their business separately in each employee’s application.
Amendments help to reach the goal of faster processing
The amendment stems from a more extensive concept aiming to cut the processing time of work-based permits down to an average of one month. The new provisions enable the more extensive use of automation and authorities to obtain part of the needed information from other official registers. Due to automation, less information will be needed from the applicant and employer. To help ensure that the Finnish Immigration Service can process the applications as efficiently as possible, it is emphasized that the applicant and the employer should primarily use the online service.
Finland is taking steps to address labor gaps and attract talent to the country, while at the same time modernizing and automating its processes and systems and introducing more flexibility, to help make residence permit applications and ultimately entry into the country easier. Several countries have made efforts to introduce measures that aim to attract qualified professionals through simplified migration processes and/or beneficial tax regimes. With the changes, Finland is making sure it remains competitive in this area.
As there have been numerous changes to policy and procedures over the past 12 months and it can be confusing to navigate them. If you have any questions about eligibility and the conditions for applying for residence and work-based residence permits, the employer’s obligations or if you need assistance with employees’ relocation, it may be prudent to consult KPMG Finland's immigration team.
Senior Global Mobility Advisor
+358 40 533 4225
Assistant Manager, Global Mobility & Immigration
+358 44 089 1888