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Consultation round on three-month unemployment rule begins: proposal deviates from Government Programme for specialists and permit holders who have worked in Finland for longer than two years

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 13.6.2024 9.57
Press release

The Government is seeking to strengthen the link between work and work-based residence permits, and to improve permit supervision. Worker’s residence permit holders in Finland would also have better opportunities to find new employment in sectors with a labour shortage. The Government proposal has been circulated for comments between 13 June and 16 August 2024.

A worker with a work-based residence permit would have three months to find a new job if their employment in Finland came to an end. The conditions for residence would lapse and the worker should leave Finland if no new employment was found and there were no other grounds for residence.

The jobseeking period would be six months instead of three months:

  • for specialists and startup entrepreneurs (including EU Blue Card holders)
  • for senior and middle enterprise managers
  • for seconded specialists and managers moving within an undertaking, and
  • for all workers who have lived in Finland for longer than two years with a work-based residence permit

The proposal would strengthen the link between work and work-based residence permits, and enhance permit supervision. It would provide additional security to workers in the form of a legally guaranteed jobseeking period. The terms and conditions of work-based residence permits would be clearer for both workers and public authorities.

A permit may already be cancelled on grounds of unemployment

While current legislation already allows residence permit cancellation when employment ends, there are no provisions governing the delay before implementing such cancellations. Since April 2023 the Finnish Immigration Service has nevertheless already applied a practice whereby residence permit cancellation procedures are not initiated within a three-month protection period.

There would still be a requirement to depart from Finland when a permit expires if there were no new grounds for continuing residence. This means that the proposal would not introduce any right to prolong a residence permit for the duration of jobseeking, and instead the protection period would continue for no longer than the duration of the work-based residence permit.

The proposal would apply to work-based residence permits and not, for example, to permanent residence permits, permits based on family ties, or EU citizens.

Expanded jobseeking opportunities for workers

The foregoing changes to rules governing a period of unemployment apply to all work-based residence permits. The proposal would also introduce certain changes in the worker’s residence permit. An employee with a worker’s residence permit in Finland may currently change employer within the same sector for which the permit was granted, but may not switch to another sector. The proposal would allow the employee to seek work in other sectors that have been verified as labour shortage sectors throughout Finland under the same permit. It would still be necessary to apply for a new residence permit for work in sectors other than these.

The aim is to promote labour availability and support re-employment of an employee in Finland. Labour shortage sectors would be prescribed annually by government decree.

Employer’s duty to notify the Finnish Immigration Service when employment ends

The Government Programme envisages that an employer would be required to notify the Finnish Immigration Service of premature termination of the employment of a person residing in Finland with a work-based residence permit. The employer should submit the notification within seven days of the end of the work. Failure to notify would be sanctionable, most typically by a fine.

Employers are already required to notify the Employment and Economic Development Office on hiring a citizen of a non-EU country. This notification will be submitted to the Finnish Immigration Service as of the beginning of 2025.

A public hearing in English will take place in August

Comments on the Government proposal may be submitted through the consultation service on or before 16 August 2024. Preparation of the proposal will continue at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment after the consultation round is completed. The Government intends to submit the proposal to the autumn 2024 session of Parliament. The changes would not take effect before 2025.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is arranging an English-language public hearing on the proposal on 13 August 2024. There is a Teams link to the event at the end of this press release. Questions on the proposal will be available on the Consultation Service in Finnish, Swedish and English.

More information:
Veera Svahn, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7321 (questions to the Minister of Employment)
Katri Niskanen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7373 (available until 5 July)
Jarmo Tiukkanen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7355 (available as of 15 July)