Right to work in Finland - Yleistä


General information on topic

Employers are required to confirm that foreign employees have the right to work in Finland.

It is the employer’s duty to ensure that any foreign nationals whom they employ have a residence permit that allows them work in Finland or that they are otherwise legally permitted to work in Finland under the Finnish Aliens Act or the Finnish Seasonal Workers Act. If the employer neglects the obligation to check and allows an employee to work without a permit, whether knowingly or unknowingly, the work is undeclared work. The employer is guilty of unauthorised use of foreign labour or a violation by an employer of the Aliens Act.

The occupational safety and health authorities are required to report to the police if there is probable cause to suspect that an employer is guilty of unauthorised use of foreign labour or a violation of the Aliens Act.

Financial sanction and employers’ joint and several liability

An employer who has hired a third-country national who is staying illegally in the country may be liable to pay a financial sanction imposed by the Finnish Immigration Service amounting to EUR 1,000 to EUR 30,000. The term ‘third-country national’ refers to citizens of countries other than the Nordic countries, EU Member States, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.

The employer can also be held liable for any costs incurred from returning such individuals to their home country, especially if the employer is found to have helped them to enter or stay in Finland illegally. The employer may also be liable for covering the costs of paying wages abroad.

Joint and several liability of the employer, contractor and principal contractor

Where the employer of an employee staying in the country illegally is a subcontractor, the subcontractor’s direct contractor and the employer shall be jointly and severally liable to pay the employee’s pay receivables, increments, overtime, Sunday compensation, annual holiday pay and holiday compensation.

The direct contractor shall also be jointly and severally liable to pay the financial sanction if imposed on the employee’s employer, the costs of payment of wages abroad, and the costs of return if the direct contractor has through their own actions influenced the employee's entry or residence.

The principal contractor or other subcontractor acting as contractor shall be jointly and severally liable with the employee's employer to pay the financial sanction and the costs of paying receivables abroad if they were aware that the employee was staying in the country illegally, and to pay the costs of return if they through their own actions influenced the employee's entry or residence.

Contractors who are partners of the employer are entitled to demand compensation from the employer for any fees, costs and compensation that they had to pay.

Forged residence permit cancels financial sanction

The employer is exempt from liability if the residence permit presented by the employee was forged and the employer was not aware of this. The same applies to the employer’s partners.

A contractor is also exempt from liability if he has obtained the reports and certificates required under the contractor's obligation to check from a subcontractor employer and established that the subcontractor’s employees have a worker’s residence permit or other document granting them right of residence.

Information about confirming the right to work: Foreign employee.