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Work Permit Process in Finland. Antti Helin, Adviser Immigration Unit June 4th 2014. The Aliens Act (2004). The provisions on work permits were overhauled as of January 1st 2014. The Aliens Act is based on previous immigration legislation from the 1990s

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Work Permit Process in Finland

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    1. Work Permit Process in Finland Antti Helin, Adviser Immigration Unit June 4th 2014

    2. The Aliens Act (2004). The provisions on workpermitswereoverhauled as of January 1st 2014. The Aliens Act is based on previousimmigrationlegislationfrom the 1990s The Act on AdministrativeProcedure (2003), whichgovernsalluse of administrativepowerbyFinnishauthorities The Act on the Use of the Act on AdministrativeProcedure (1996), whichgoverns the appealsprocess The Act on the AliensRegister (1997), whichgoverns the right to store and process the personalinformation of foreigners The Finnish Immigration Service'sinternalguidelines, on e.g. workpermits and incomerequirements Key regulations

    3. Therearetwokinds of residence permit: permitsthataregranted on the basis of work, and permitsthatinclude a right to work. Permitsgranted on the basis of workalwaysinclude the right to work in the kind of work the permit wasgranted for. Permitsthatinclude a right to workcangrant a limitedright to work, or, usually, an unlimitedright to work. Finland doesnothave a long-term visa system: allstays of over 90 daysarecoveredby the residence permit systeminstead. The residence permit is issued in the form of a plasticcard. Virtuallyallworkpermitsrequire the applicant to have an offer of employmentor a contract of employmentwhenapplying. Workpermits in Finland

    4. In addition to thosewhose permit includes the right to work, a work permit is notrequiredfromthosewhoare • Citizens of anyEU/EEA country • Asylumseekers (theirright to employmentbeginsthreeorsixmonthsafterapplying, the rightterminatesonce the asylumapplicationhasbeenresolved) • Employed in a specifictaskwhich is exemptedfrom the permit requirementbylaw, and staying for lessthan 90 days • A work permit is requiredfromeveryoneelse. Whodoesn'tneed a work permit?

    5. Employees in specifiedfieldsareexemptedfromrequiring a permit, providedtheywork for no morethan90 days in Finland: • Experts (ICT, engineers, etc.), interpreters and teachers • Professional athletes and artists, filmcrews • Certaintypes of agricultural and seasonallabour: pickingberries, harvestingorplantingvegetables, caring for furanimals • Contractororsubcontractorwork, if the employeehas a work permit in anotherEU/EEA country • Professional drivers, undercertainconditions • A visa is stillnecessaryifthere is no visa waiveragreement

    6. Residence permit for an employed person • Most common permit for non-EU labour immigration (3305 applications made in 2013) • Requires a partialdecisionfrom the Employment and EconomicDevelopment (TE) Office to determine labour conditions and availability • Residence permit for otheremployment • Second most common permit (2377 in 2013) • Exemptedfrom the partialdecisionprocess • For certainprofessionsspecified in the law • Residence permit for a self-employed person • Third most common permit (118 in 2013) • Requires a partialdecisionfrom the Centre for EconomicDevelopment (ELY) to determineviability • EU BlueCard for experts (5 applications made in 2013) Types of residence permit for employment

    7. Applications arereceivedbyFinnishembassies and consulatesabroad, orby the localpolicewhenapplying in the country. • For an employed person, the application is sent to TE for the partialdecision, then to Migri for the finaldecision • For a self-employed person, sent to ELY for the partialdecision, then to Migri for the finaldecision • For otheremployment, sentdirectly to Migri for processing and the finaldecision. • If the partialdecision is negative, the finaldecision is alwaysnegative. • If the partialdecision is positive, Migrimaystillmake a negativedecisionif the general requirementsarenotmet. Division of authority in the process

    8. Advantages: • Everyagencymaintains and appliesitsownfield of expertise (e.g. knowledge of the labour market) • Resources aretargeted to wheretheyareneeded • Agenciesdon'tneed to establishtheirowninfrastructure for parts of the process (e.g. servicepoints) • Disadvantages: • Agenciesneed to harmonizepolicies and practices, and have to communicateconstantly and effectively to doso • Agenciesarenot in a hierarchicalrelationship to eachother, soresolvinginter-agencyconflictscanbedifficult • Confusing to applicants and laymen, whichcanbe a burden on resourcesbyitself Division of authority in the process

    9. A residence permit maynotbegranted • To a person whoposes "a danger to publicorder, securityorhealthor to Finland's international relations" • To a person whohasbeenbannedfromentering Finland or the Schengen Area (unlessnegotiatedotherwise) • Iftherearereasonablegrounds to suspectthat the applicantintends to evade the provisions on entry into orresidence in the country • The third and lastreason is the most common basis for making a negativedecisionwhen the partialdecisionhasbeenpositive. • Determinedbyinterviewing the applicant, requestingfurtherinformationorclarifications, and checking the authenticity of the documentationprovided. Meeting the general requirements

    10. The mosttypicalwork permit issued (3305 in 2013) Typicalprofessions: cook, cleaner, agriculturallabourer Typicalcountries of origin: Ukraine (667 issued in 2013), Russia (609), Philippines (204), China (113), Thailand (109) Cancover a certainprofessionalfield, or a certainprofessionalfieldunder a certainemployer. In the former case, changingemployers is possible on the same permit. In 2013, 69 % of applicationswereaccepted Controlledby the TE Office'spartialdecisionprocess Residence permit for an employed person

    11. The secondmosttypicalwork permit issued (1337), usually for specialexperts (995 issued in 2013) Typicalcountries of origin: India (752), USA, Russia The varietywithinthiscategory is considerable. The purpose of thiscategory is to exemptindividuals with specialexpertise and certainorganizationsfrom the partialdecisionprocess. In 2013, approx. 97 % of applicationswereaccepted. Residence permit for otherwork

    12. Specialexpertsand upper and middle management Professional athletes, coaches and referees Professional scientists and artists Professional journalists and marketresearchers, whoseemployerdoesnothavepremises in Finland Thosewhohavefinished a degree in a Finnishinstitution of learning Visitingconsultants, teachers, educators and researchers, for up to 12 months Thoseemployedbynon-profitorganizations Thoseemployedbyinter-governmentalorganizations Interns for IGOsor in caseswhere the internshipmatches the intern'sstudies, and intra-companytransfers for degreeholders, for up to 18 months Residence permit for otherwork (cont.)

    13. Third mosttypical permit issued (65 in 2013). • Typicalfields of business: restaurants, cleaning, postaldelivery. • In 2013, 60 % of applicationswereaccepted. • Possiblereasons for relativelyhighdegree of denials: • The difficulty in reliablydemonstrating the viability of a business, and the economicdownturn • This permit typeseems to bevulnerable to attempts of evadingregulations; orsuchattemptsareeasier to prove Residence permit for a self-employed person

    14. The raresttype of work permit issued (5 in 2013) For workthatrequires a highdegree of competenceorexpertise, and lasts a minimum of 12 months The requirements of the BlueCardarestricterthan the specialexpert permit, buttheir status in Finland is essentiallyequal. The BlueCard is onlysignificantif the person is alreadyplanning to migrate to another EU country later on. The salaryrequirement for a specialexpert is 3000 euros per month. The BlueCardrequirement is currently 4809 euros per month. EU BlueCard

    15. The work permit section of the Immigration Unitprocessesallfirstwork permit applications for the entire country. Therewere 5800 suchapplications in 2013. The teamalsohandles the deportation and removaldecisions for peoplewhoare in the country on a work permit. The sectioncurrentlyhas 12 members The greatmajority of the time is spent on processing and resolvingapplications and the paperworkthatcomes with that, and givingstatements to the AdministrativeCourt on appealeddecisions. Practicalities of the process

    16. Allmembers of the teamanswercustomercallsthreedays a week for onehour. Because of the widevariety in the field of business and employment, the questionscanbeverydifficult. Everyone is alsoavailable for otherFinnishauthoritieswhomayneedadvicethroughouteveryworkingday Alldecisionsarewritten and executedthrough the electronicprocessingsystem. Alldocumentsaresignedelectronically and neverbyhand. There is no fieldwork. Practicalities of the process (cont.)