How to move to Finland in 2021? That will be the topic of today’s article.
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Dreaming of moving to Finland? You can be perfectly understood. Because of the high salaries and affordable education, the Land of a Thousand Lakes has indeed become a popular destination for immigration. The rich nature, quality products and a measured pace of life eliminate all doubts, but there are pitfalls everywhere.
The number of people willing to move to live in Finland is growing rapidly. Citizens of many countries are actively interested in how they can obtain a residence permit, and then Finnish citizenship.
Finland attracts immigrants with a high standard of living, social protection of citizens, whose political rights and freedoms are strictly protected, there is practically no corruption in the country.
Finland’s GDP per capita is 48,782.79 USD (2019). Finland is renowned for one of the world’s best education systems, excellent ecology and high quality healthcare. The country consistently ranks at the top in the ratings of freedom of speech, democracy, quality of government and the rule of law. In many areas of science and technology, Finland is considered one of the most advanced countries in the world.
Pros of living in Finland
The education is completely free in Finland. Sometimes you need to buy expensive books, but if you get the hang of it, you can borrow them from the library, buy them from your hands or do without them. In addition, students are entitled to a fairly good scholarship, about $ 300. If this is not enough, then you can take out a loan for training. He has a pretty low percentage. This is about $ 250 a month. It should be enough for the student.
Surprisingly, in terms of quality / price ratio, products in one of the most expensive countries in Europe are more profitable than in neighboring countries. Quality control is excellent here.
Probably many will find it unusual why the northern nature is so attractive. But it is really beautiful and captivates by being very accessible. To visit the purest lake, you will not even need to go somewhere by car. Twenty minutes on the bike and you are there. Yes, there are also many beautiful places in your countries, but they are either sooooo far away, or filthy.
As we know, all the Scandinavian countries and Finland have taken the path of socially oriented development. Whether this is good or bad is not for us to judge. But they have created a kind of “pillow” that does not allow a person to fall in difficult situations.
Whatever happens, the authorities will give you, albeit not a luxurious, but a separate apartment, they will not let you die of hunger. You can live quite well and not work. And even working as a cleaner or salesman, you can live much better than many people from many other countries, either European or Asian.
Yes, Finns are ordinary people who have achieved everything in their country on their own. Of course, not all of them are pleasant, nice and friendly. But if we talk about the average level of politeness, then it is several times higher than in many other countries.
You can rely on them not only in business, but also simply at the level of human relations. For example, it’s not scary to buy something off hand. They will not be deceived. Punctuality, politeness, modesty – these words are about Finns.
Cons of living in Finland
Well, cannot forget about cons. Without them, nowhere!
Job search is a sore subject for many in Finland. If you are not a cool IT man, doctor, engineer, then job search turns into a lottery. It is very difficult for a foreigner to get a good position without connections. There are areas where there are unspoken rules that we do not take foreigners. It is not spelled out anywhere, but it is a given. Therefore, to compete with the local guys, you need to be a cut above them.
It can be enough hard for you to learn. Lucky for those who came here at school age. They somehow catch both words and correct pronunciation on the fly. Those who arrived at a conscious age almost all speak with an accent at best, or do not speak at all at worst.
Lack of communication
Finns are rather closed people. Foreigners are not a novelty for them, so no one will particularly ask you about your distant and interesting country.
This is the flip side of the social path. Taxes are high not only on salaries (in especially neglected cases, you can give up half of your earnings), but also the general tax on any goods sold – 25%. In addition, there are also various contributions to the pension fund, church tax and much more.
Invasion of immigrants
Although the situation here is still more or less calm, but in neighboring Sweden, the situation is different. There are ghettos and ethnic crime there. In Finland they don’t have this yet, but many immigrants can prove that Finland is moving in this direction. Residents of sunny Somalia, Iraq and Syria quite easily get political asylum here. But what they give this country is a big question.
Ways to immigrate to Finland
Next, we will tell you about several ways to move to Finland (or Suomi, as the Finns themselves call their country), so that you can choose the most suitable one for you and become part of the European community.
Option 1: Education
The most common way to move to Finland is through education. You can get free education if you are a resident of the country or an immigrant (only for members of the European Union or European Economic Area). Students from outside these areas may need to pay tuition fees. But knowing Finnish or Swedish will help you study for free, regardless of citizenship.
On the official website dedicated to education, you can take a questionnaire and find out if you need to pay for tuition.
You can also choose one of the programs of study in English and get a master’s degree, bachelor’s degree and even a doctoral degree. It usually takes about 3.5-4.5 years to complete a bachelor’s degree. To apply for a master’s degree, you first need to acquire two years of work experience after a relevant education.
To quickly get used to the new country and adapt, you can take free Finnish language courses for immigrants, which are often provided by universities. If a university or other educational institution accepts you for study, the Finnish Migration Service must provide you with a residence permit. ³ But during the admission process, it is advisable to clarify all the information with the representatives of your educational institution to make sure that no changes have occurred.
Also, upon graduation, you will have no more than a year and a short-term residence permit to look for work. But it often happens that students receive a job offer during their studies. Of course, this also depends on how active the student is in his search.
The list of documents for a residence permit for study is as follows:
- passport (must be valid);
- passport photo;
- a document confirming that you are studying at a Finnish educational institution;
- proof that your tuition has been paid for or that you have received a grant;
- free finances for living and evidence of their availability;
- a copy of the European card honey. insurance or insurance policy;
- documents on previous education;
- references from the place of work, if any.
It is also possible that you will need to take entrance exams. You can find out how to enter a Finnish university on the website about higher education.
Option 2: Family and family ties
You can legally immigrate to Finland if you have family or kinship ties with the Finns. Marriage with a Finnish citizen is a direct basis for obtaining a residence permit. Before marriage, you can stay in Finland for up to 90 days on a visa.
Option 3: Career
Working in Finland is one of the most common ways to move. In the case of employment, knowledge of the Finnish language will greatly increase your chances of finding a good job, ⁸ but your specialization and skills are also important.
Some businesses offer free Finnish courses for valuable employees. However, one should not assume that it is impossible to get a job without knowing Finnish. Not at all. But knowing the language can, of course, improve the odds. It is worth emphasizing the importance of English, without which there is nowhere at all. If you do not speak English, Finnish or Swedish, the move will be much more difficult. The new language will definitely have to be learned.
Option 4: Business immigration
Setting up your business in Finland is a relatively quick and easy process due to the favorable conditions created by the government. Therefore, many move precisely to start their own business. Your own startup is the basis for obtaining a residence permit in the future.
If you want to start your business in Finland, you will need to arrange financing, choose a company form, draw up a business plan, obtain all necessary trade permits, register your business, take out insurance and organize accounting. For those who already have business management experience, such a to-do list shouldn’t seem intimidating.
The taxation system also deserves your attention if you are interested in this method of immigration. You can find more information on corporate taxes in Finland by referring to the relevant footnote.
Option 5: Repatriation
Another good way to move to Finland is through repatriation. But it is not available to everyone.
Repatriation is available to those whose parents (or grandparents) were born in Finland. You need to prove your Finnish heritage and family ties. Other reasons, like work or study, are not required in this case. Repatriation is also available if you or your parents were born in Finland before World War II, and then ended up in the territory of the former USSR.
Option 6: Naturalization
Newborn resident of Finland According to the Citizenship Act of June 1, 2003 and the amendments to this law, which were introduced on April 1, 2019, a child of a Finnish citizen acquires Finnish citizenship through his parents, that is, the principle of origin is triggered.
In other words, the Finnish citizenship of the mother or father will automatically be transferred to a child born later than June 1, 2003 – this is a legal requirement.
At the same time, parents do not have to be married: they only need to prove the fact of paternity or motherhood.
The latter became effective only after April 1, 2019, when the Finnish Maternity Act was passed. The naturalization process also affects other categories of applicants, for example, former citizens of Finland, who ceased to be such due to the circumstances, and now want to get back the status of a citizen.
Option 7: Political asylum in Finland
The main rule for applying for political asylum is staying in Finland. You cannot apply for asylum by letter to the Immigration Service anywhere in the consulate or embassy.
You need to cross the border and talk to representatives of the border service, or with a police officer in some locality. There is no general rule for applying for political asylum in Finland.
The procedure is simple. An asylum seeker applies to the police or the border control service, where his data is recorded, fingerprints are taken, his photograph and a sample signature are taken.
After that, the asylum seeker is sent to a reception center. The immigration office then invites that person for an interview and a process is started in which the immigration office grants or denies permission for political asylum.
If the decision is positive, the applicant is granted international protection or subsidiary protection status. The applicant may also be granted a residence permit on other grounds. If the decision is negative, the asylum seeker must leave Finland. However, he can appeal against the refusal.
How do you know what steps you need to take to move to Finland?
Now that you know what options of immigration to Finland are, you need to choose the one that suits you and take the first steps. There is an official website, where you can clarify them by filling out the form.
These steps may differ depending on your citizenship or residency. But for example, you are not a resident of the European Union and want to obtain a residence permit in Finland.
In this case:
- You go to the website of the Finnish Immigration Service;
- Select the item “I am a citizen of some other country”;
- Next, choose the reason for the move, for example:
- My husband or other relatives are in Finland;
- I want to obtain a residence permit in Finland at the same time as my husband / wife or other relatives;
- I will study in Finland;
- I will work in Finland;
- I want to be an entrepreneur in Finland;
- I want to open my own startup in Finland;
- I am a repatriate;
And when you have chosen the reason for the move, follow the steps described on the site.
Important information about moving to Finland: possible difficulties and positive aspects
Moving to another country is always associated with difficulties of various kinds, but often the advantages overshadow all these difficulties with interest. Below you will learn about the potential difficulties and positive aspects of moving to Finland, based on the experience of real people who have already moved and lived in the country for some time.
Potential difficulties when moving to Finland
As mentioned earlier, for a more comfortable life in the country, you will need to learn Finnish, at least at a basic level, which will make life much easier. But you must be prepared for the fact that Finnish is a different language. It does not look like English, so there may be some difficulties in learning it. However, believe me: this is far from the most difficult language in the world.
Another feature of Finland is its subarctic climate. Most of the winter will have to be spent in the dark and cold, spring is not particularly enjoyable because of its transience, but summer and autumn are full-fledged. And in autumn you can also admire the richness of colors.
In terms of temperature: in summer it can reach +30, and in winter to -20 and even lower. Therefore, adapting to long winters can be difficult for sun-loving people.
But the weather changes, but routine things remain. You should keep in mind that when you come to another country, you will need to get used to a different banking system and currency. It may take a while to get comfortable. But you can make your life a lot easier if you receive your bank details in euros immediately after you move, quickly and online.
How EU citizens can move to Finland?
If you are a citizen of an EU country, you do not need a residence permit in Finland. If you will be living in Finland for more than three months, you need to register your right to stay.
To enter Finland you need to have a valid ID or passport. In Finland, you have exactly the same right to work, business and study as citizens of the country. You must provide yourself with a livelihood in Finland.
You can stay in Finland for up to three months without registering your right to stay. If you wish to stay in Finland and register at your place of residence, you must have a job or an active business, a place of study, long-term family ties or sufficient means of subsistence.
If you are going to live in Finland for more than three months, you need to contact the Migration Board for registration of the Right of Residence for EU citizens. You must apply for registration within three months of entering the country.
If you are moving to Finland for one year or longer, you also need to register with the nearest office of the Digital Information and Population Registry Agency.
For more information, visit the InfoFinland website under Registration at your place of residence.
If your stay in Finland does not exceed three months, you do not need to register the right to stay. The three-month period of stay is calculated from the moment you cross the Finnish border upon entering the country.
Job search in Finland for EU citizens
If you are an EU citizen, you can look for work in Finland within a reasonable time frame.
You cannot register at your place of residence in Finland and apply for registration of the right to stay based on your job search. To stay in Finland, you must have a job, or you must have another reason from the above, as well as sufficient means of subsistence.
For more information on looking for a job in Finland, visit the InfoFinland website under Finding a job in Finland.
If you are eligible for unemployment benefits in your home country, it can be temporarily transferred to you in Finland. The application for transferring unemployment benefits to you in Finland must be submitted on the E303 or U2 form. You can obtain the application form from the employment office of your country.
If you come to Finland to look for work, you are generally not entitled to unemployment benefits in Finland.
We hope this article was enough informative and useful for you, and we could answer to many of your questions connected to moving to Finland.