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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.7 Cross-border mobility in employment, entrepreneurship and vocational opportunities

Last update: 11 August 2021
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  1. Programmes and schemes for cross-border mobility
  2. Legal framework

Programmes and schemes for cross-border mobility

In the field of international cooperation and mobility, Finnish society specifically puts emphasis on the roles of education, training, employment and young people. Finnish National Agency for Education promotes internationalisation and the concrete possibilities that it has brought. The Finnish National Agency for Education’s Internationalisation Services' annual budget is approximately 50 million Euros, 75 per cent of which is distributed as grants and subsidies. In addition, it funds several programmes, which are funded by the European Union, the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Finnish Government. The National Agency for Education works under the guidance of the Ministry of Education and Culture.

There are several internship programmes promoting cross-border mobility. Students in particular are the target group. The Finnish National Agency for Education provides international trainee opportunities for higher education students and recent graduates. The goal is to support degree studies and to enhance students’ professional skills. Traineeships vary usually from 3–6 months and they include a grant.

Government officials’ exchange programmes support the civil servants’ international mobility and their professional development. The programmes are funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Nordic Council of Ministers. In addition, the Finnish National Agency for Education's Internationalisation Services may support individual civil servants on short-term secondments in their own administrative field abroad.

The Finnish National Agency for Education is also the Finnish coordinator of the government officials’ exchange programme, which is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The purpose of the programme is to encourage state employees to learn about the administration and legislation of other Nordic countries and to increase collaboration among the Nordic civil servants. 

Legal framework

Overall, there is no specific legislation concerning the cross-border mobility of young workers, trainees and apprentices, entrepreneurs and professionals. The Young Workers’ Act applies to persons under the age of 18, but its emphasis is not on cross-border mobility. All provisions and obligations set by the labour legislation include incoming employees and trainees and their rights correspond to Finnish employees’ and trainees’ rights.

Residence permits practices are similar for everyone regardless of a person’s age, except residence permits issued for working holidays and au pair work. Citizens of EU/EEA countries do not need residence permits in order to work in Finland, but they have to register their right of residence should the work last for more than three months. Employees from outside the EU/EEA countries always need to have residence permits, regardless of the duration of the stay. Entrepreneurs must apply for a residence permit based on self-employment. Both residence permits based on self-employment and employment are granted by the Finnish state. A residence permit is always valid for a fixed-term, even if the employment is on a permanent basis. If the employment continues, the employee may apply for an extension to the residence permit from the local police.

Secondly, there is a separate residence permit for person who is works as an au pair. The residence permit for an au pair can be granted if the applicant is between the age of 17 and 30 and they are interested in Finnish culture, live in the host family like a family member and is not related to the family. Also, he or she must not have worked as an au pair earlier in Finland or another country. Finland has not confirmed the European Council’s treaty on the location of au pairs. Therefore, Finland follows this treaty only for applicable parts. An extension of the residence permit is not possible.

Thirdly, students have only a limited right to work. If person has a student residence permit, he or she may work if such work is part of a traineeship required for a degree or is on a research paper required by the curriculum. Other paid employment is limited to 25 hours a week on average. However, these limitations regarding hours of work permitted do not apply the times when the educational institution is not offering instruction (e.g. summer and Christmas holidays).

An international trainee has the same rights as a Finnish trainee, and the work contract must correspond to that issued to Finnish trainees and employees. As with the employees, trainees from outside the EU/EEA need a residence permit. The trainee’s wages are paid in accordance to the relevant collective agreement. Enterprise Finland Services of Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment provides information about international recruitments and trainees for employers.

There are no specific taxation arrangements for young people who are from other EU countries, but the general practices which concern everyone else, also apply to them. When an employee works in Finland, taxes are generally paid to the Finnish state, but there are several factors that affect the taxation arrangements. If an employee works in Finland for no more than six months in the service of a foreign employer, he or she does not usually have to pay taxes to the Finnish state. When a person is working as a temporary employee for a foreign employer, income is taxed in Finland, provided that the applicable tax convention with the state of residence allows it.

For more information, visit:

Working in Finland of the Finnish Immigration Service.

Work in Finland. Guide for employees and entrepreneurs of the Employment and Business Services.

Tax administration, Finland.