Labour migration policies in Finland

This blog provides an overview of specific national labour migration and work permit policies in Finland, based on this detailed case study. We also track how single provisions match policy recommendations we developed in our 2021 report on labour migration.


Residence permits for employed people (TTOL permits)

In Finland, the “Residence Permit for an Employed Person”, abridged as “TTOL” in Finnish, is the most widespread residence and work permit across the labour market. This pathway is open to all nationalities, and is applicable to all jobs that do not require special expertise.

To apply, workers need to hold a valid passport and have a work contract, or a formal job offer, and relevant experience or qualifications. The applicant also needs to prove sufficient means to reside in Finland.

Aside from specific exemptions, the TTOL is subject to a labour market test: the employer has to advertise the vacancy for at least two weeks on official websites, indicate the number of applications received and why no candidate was suitable.

Applications for the TTOL are submitted by the worker, who can apply from abroad or in Finland. People applying from abroad will get a residence permit card that will suffice to enter the country (there is no need to apply for an entry visa). People who are irregularly residing in Finland may be able to apply if they meet the criteria. Application fees vary from 490€ to 740€, normally paid by the worker.

Like for other residence and work permits, there are two types of TTOL permit: type A and type B.

Type A permits are linked to permanent employment and are initially granted for one year. The permit is then generally extended for four years. This is the most widespread TTOL permit.

Type B permits are far less used, and are issued when the employment is a fixed term of less than two years; they are issued for the duration of the employment, and are renewable. After two years, the worker will get a type A permit, regardless of the length of the contract.

Workers with a TTOL can change employers freely at any time during the validity of the permit, within the same occupational field or category of work for which the initial permit was issued for. It is also possible to be unemployed on the TTOL, but only holders of a type A permit can access unemployment benefits.

People applying for the TTOL are eligible to apply for family reunification. TTOL permits also allow people to apply for permanent residence and for citizenship, depending on the length of their stay.


Residence permits linked to exploitation at work

In Finland, non-EEA workers who have experienced labour exploitation or significant negligence in the workplace can apply for special residence permits due to such exploitation.

The Residence Permit due to Exploitation by the Employer is a one-year permit for people who have experienced labour rights violations and have not yet found another job.

To apply, workers need to have worked with a valid residence permit and experienced labour abuse, including wage theft and overwork, but don’t need to prove any financial means. It is not necessary to have filed a formal complaint or initiated legal proceedings. The application costs 180€.The Residence Permit due to Exploitation by the Employer is an A type permit that is valid for one year. With this permit, people have full access to the labour market and can be unemployed or take steps to start a business during the validity of this permit. Once the person finds employment, they can begin the process to apply for another residence permit.

Workers who have been victims of exploitation or significant negligence at the workplace and already have a new job offer with another employer can apply for a Certificate due to Exploitation by the Employer. In such cases, workers are not granted a new residence permit but have the right to change employer on their current permit without any restrictions. The validity of the previous residence permit stands.

To apply, the worker needs to have a job offer or work contract with a new employer. The rest of the requirements and application process are the same as the Residence Permit due to Exploitation by the Employer, with the addition that the new employer will have to file an appendix to be submitted with the application. The fee for the certificate is 65€.

Cover image: Paul Theodor Oja – Pexels