Fast-Track Service, D Visa and More: A Guide for Specialists Coming to Finland for Work

In Finland, the Aliens Act (301/2004, as amended) governs aliens’ entry into, exit from, residence and work in Finland. As a general rule, a residence permit is required for a person who is not a citizen of an EU Member State, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, and who will stay in Finland for more than 90 days.  

1. RESIDENCE PERMIT FOR A SPECIALIST 

A specialist who is not a citizen of the aforementioned countries may apply for the residence permit for persons employed as a specialist.  

A person is a specialist if he/she 1) is coming to Finland to work in expert duties that require special expertise (highly skilled worker); 2) has a gross salary of at least EUR 3,473 per month in 2023; and 3) has a higher education degree or has otherwise acquired the special expertise required in the work through work experience or other education.  

A first residence permit for a specialist is granted for a maximum of 2 years. If the employment (or the work to be performed in Finland) lasts for less than 2 years, the residence permit will be valid for the duration of the employment relationship (or duration of work in Finland). 

2. EXPEDITED ENTRY INTO FINLAND 

Finland has on 1 June 2022 launched a fast-track service for immigration, applicable to residence permit for a specialist and the family members of the specialist if they apply at the same time as the specialist.  

The fast-track service enables the specialist to obtain the residence permit within 2 weeks. According to the Outcome of the negotiations on the Government Programme, 16 June 2023, the Finnish government will strive to process such permits for professionals earning more than EUR 4,000 per month within a maximum of one week. 

The conditions for this quick process are that the applicant provided all the required information and attachments to the application, and certain actions required from the applicant and the employer were taken within the provided time limits.  

Further, a so-called national D visa has been introduced effective as of 1 June 2022, allowing, among others, foreign specialists to travel to Finland immediately after a positive decision is issued on the residence permit application. The applicant no longer needs to wait for a residence permit card abroad; instead, the card will be delivered to the applicant in Finland. On average, the D visa allows the applicant to travel to Finland for 1-2 weeks earlier than usual. 

The family members of the specialist can also apply for a D visa if they are applying for a residence permit on the basis of family ties. 

The reason for the introduction of this quick process is that active work-based immigration and skilled employees are increasingly demanded in the Finnish labor market. Before this change took effective the process for work-based immigration had proved to be fairly slow, which may lead to negative consequences for the work-based immigration, e.g. skilled employees ending up in another country instead of Finland. 

We are happy to provide further information on this topic.

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Anu Vuori

Attorney-at-law / Partner / Co-Head of Tampere / Head of Employment

Finland

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