Foreign employee - Yleistä


General information on topic

A foreign employee must have the right to work in Finland.

A foreign employee must have the right to work in Finland. The ground for the right to work depends on which country the employee is a citizen of, what kind of work he/she is coming to Finland to do and for how long.

A foreign employee has the same rights and obligations as a Finnish employee. The employer must treat employees equitably and equally, regardless of nationality.

The right to work must be verified

The employer is required to ensure that foreign employees have a residence permit entitling them to work in Finland. The employer is also required to keep a record of foreign employees and the grounds for their right to work. The employer must further provide such information for the employment and economic development office (TE Services) and the personnel representative at the workplace.

When employees employed by a foreign employer work in contracting or subcontracting, as temporary agency workers or as internal transfers within a company, employer's obligations mentioned above also apply to the client, with the exception of the obligation to report to the TE Office.

At a construction site, the main contractor or other project supervisor must ensure that all foreigners working at the site have the right to work. The same applies to the employer exercising main authority at a shipyard area. In other words, the aforementioned must verify that foreign employees employed by Finnish companies also have the right to work. They also have an obligation to retain data.

Separate legislation for posted workers

A posted worker is an employee sent by a foreign company to Finland to perform work on a temporary basis. The minimum terms and conditions of employment and working conditions for workers posted to Finland are provided for in the Posted Workers Act.

For more information, please see the page Posted worker.

Foreign employee - Työntekijälle


Instructions for employee

Employees are required to prove their right to work to the employer.

If you are not a Finnish citizen, the Aliens Act requires you to prove to your employer that you have the right to work in Finland.

You can present to your employer your passport, official travel document or residence permit card. The ground of your right to work determines which document you must present. If you are an EU citizen, your right to work is based on your citizenship, which you can prove with a passport or other travel document.

The employer can make a copy of the document verifying your right to work, because employer is required by law to keep information about foreign employees and the basis of their work rights at the workplace.

Residence of an EU citizen to be registered at the Finnish Immigration Service

If you have the citizenship of an EU Member State, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you do not need to apply for a Finnish residence permit. However, if your stay in Finland lasts for more than three months, you must register your residence. You must contact the Finnish Immigration Service for registration.

If you are not a citizen of any of the aforementioned countries, your right to work in Finland must be based on Finnish law. If you need a residence permit, you must apply for one yourself. If you work in Finland without the right to do so, you could be committing a violation or a criminal offence.

If there is any change in your right of residence or any of the grounds for your right to work, you must inform your employer immediately. If your residence permit is about to expire, you must submit an application for a new residence permit while the old one is still valid. Give your employer a copy of the receipt of your pending application and then give him a copy of your new residence permit as soon as you receive it.

Further information: Working in Finland. Finnish Immigration Service.

Terms and conditions of employment and occupational safety

You are entitled to the same statutory terms of employment as Finnish employees. If there is anything unclear about your pay, working hours or any other terms and conditions of employment, talk to your employer first. When your employment relationship ends, your employer will not provide a certificate of employment automatically; you must request it. You may use this form (doc, in Finnish): Document request to employer.

Safety at work is the responsibility of the employer, but you as the employee also have responsibilities. If the work causes a serious hazard to your life or health or that of other employees, you have the right to refuse to perform that work. For more information, see the page Employee's responsibilities.

Foreign employee - Työnantajalle


Instructions for employer

Information on foreign employees and the grounds for their right to work must be kept at the workplace.

Under the Aliens Act, an employer with foreign employees must:

  • ensure that a foreign employee entering his or her service and working in his or her employment has the required residence permit for an employed person or that the foreign employee does not need a residence permit (Aliens Act, section 82), and
  • keep the information on the foreign employee in his or her employment and on the grounds for their right to work easily available at the workplace (Aliens Act, section 82).

The information that the employer must keep at the workplace must include:

  • the personal data of the foreign employee, and
  • the grounds for the foreign employee’s right to work.

The employer shall store the information for two years beyond the termination of the foreign employee’s employment. The employer may choose how to store this information, but it must be easily available for inspection by the occupational safety and health authorities.

Obligation to report to the TE Office and employee representatives

The Finnish Aliens Act obligates employers not only to check that all foreign employees of theirs have a right to work in Finland and keep evidence of these checks but also to

  • supply their local TE Office with the following information, if they employ individuals who are not EU/EEA citizens or family members of EU/EEA citizens:
    • employee they hired
    • length of employment
    • their pay
    • the collective agreement applied
  • Inform the shop steward, the elected representative and the occupational safety and health representative of such employees’ names and the applicable collective agreement.
The employment and economic development office (TE Services) must be notified of any employees from outside the EU.

The information listed above must be supplied to the  TE Office without undue delay (within one week). The notification is submitted via the EnterFinland service.

If the notification cannot be submitted electronically, it can be submitted on paper.

For more information and the form visit the TE Office website Instructions for hiring a foreign employee (in Finnish).

Failure to comply with the obligation to reportable can lead to a penalty.

Terms and conditions of employment and occupational safety

The employer has the same employer obligations, regardless of whether the employee is from Finland or from outside Finland. The minimum terms and conditions of employment (such as pay and working hours) must be in accordance with the Finnish law and universally binding collective agreements. Working conditions must be in accordance with the Finnish occupational safety regulations. The employer must also ensure that the foreign employees are informed of the key terms of their employment in an understandable language and familiarised with their work tasks.

Foreign employees have the same rights and obligations as Finnish employees. If an employee is treated less favourably than other employees at the workplace or is paid a lower salary because of being a foreigner, the employer may be guilty of discrimination prohibited by law.

The law applicable to international employment relationships is determined on a case-by-case basis. An international employment relationship means, for example, that the employer and the employee are domiciled in two different countries.