After the Covid-19 pandemic caused millions of people to reconsider their career ambitions and skyrocketed the popularity of remote work, individuals are realising brand new ways of living and working. The reopening of most communities across the globe in 2021, alongside the phenomenal growth of industries such as IT and Pharma, has seen record increases in job openings throughout different sectors worldwide.
Working internationally is a fast-growing trend set to become the norm for millions more people around the world in the next few years. Contractors are enjoying greater work/life balance, freedom to explore new cultures and the ability to fit regular travel around working life, and 63% of individuals have seen their disposable income increase since moving abroad.
There’s never been a better opportunity to start planning a rewarding future as a contractor abroad – and Finland is one of the best locations to consider. Generate’s payroll and contractor management specialists reveal everything you need to know about self-employment in Finland.
What You Need to Know About Becoming a Contractor in Finland
1. Legal, Tax and Visa Requirements
Following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, British citizens are no longer automatically able to live and work freely in Finland from 2021. Any UK citizen must apply to the Finnish Immigration Service for a residence permit before moving to or starting work in the country. Working in Finland will usually require either a residence permit for an employed person or another residence permit for the self-employed that entitles you to work, although the type of permit each individual needs depends on what kind of work you will be doing.
Those planning to work on a contract for three months or less can apply for a seasonal work visa from the Finnish embassy. Some professionals, including teachers, interpreters and subcontractors carrying out temporary work on behalf of an EU-registered company can work in Finland for up to three months without any visa or permit. Find out more information from the Finnish Immigration Service.
All residents are taxed on all worldwide income. An individual who is a non-resident working locally for less than three months is taxed only on income earned in Finland. Tax rates are progressive and are updated every year. Finnish tax brackets are currently as follows:
- Between €18,100 and €27,200 – 6%
- Between €27,200 and €44,800 – 17.25%
- Between €44,800 and €78,500 – 21.25%
- Over €78,500 – 31.25% .
2. How to Find a Contracting Job in Finland
Whilst the idea of applying for a job in another country can seem daunting, Finland actively welcomes an influx of skilled professionals from other countries. Three out of four Finnish companies are experiencing a shortage of skilled workers across industries and specialisms. The country’s Official Shortage Occupation List includes many professional roles popular with contractors such as:
- Education – Qualified teachers and experienced teaching assistants for primary and secondary schools, Universities and students with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities)
- Medicine and Healthcare – Doctors, nurses and healthcare support specialists
- Social Care – Social workers, counselling practitioners and carers.
Finnish organisations across sectors are struggling to recruit into their tech teams and IT departments. In 2021 the nation already has a deficit of 53,000 skilled tech workers, and many businesses leaders fear that this will grow worse as businesses compete through Industry 4.0 for a shrinking supply of local University tech graduates. The most in-demand tech jobs include System Analysts, Software Developers, Web Developers, Multimedia Developers and Telecommunications Engineers. Finland will need to look abroad to find the 130,000 tech professionals the country needs in the next decade, presenting a wealth of opportunities for IT contractors thinking of moving to Finland.
Like many other European countries, contractors can find Finnish jobs through direct job applications, local and international recruitment agencies or their own networks. The most popular job boards in Finland include:
- Te-palvelut (the National Employment Office)
- Tiptopjob Finland
- Jobs in Helsinki
- Careerjet Finland
3. Reasons to Work in Finland
There are a plethora of reasons to start a new career in the Finnish nation, including:
- Life & Work Satisfaction – Finnish workers are the happiest in the world. In 2019 and 2020, Finland ranked as the best country to live in the world out of the 156 nations that were measured. Factors behind the levels of happiness include economy and productivity, long life expectancy, tolerant attitudes and excellent social support for all residents.
- Community Ethos – The nation is renowned for its almost complete lack of corruption, Europe’s highest levels of confidence in the police force, and crime rates have recently dropped to their lowest levels for a decade, making it one of the globe’s most peaceful states. The Scandinavian values of democracy, freedom of speech, equality, mutual respect and trust run through the very core of the collaborative Finnish society.
- Environment and Outdoor Life – Often called ‘the land of lakes’, the nation is home to beautiful scenery. Residents and visitors can take in some of the world’s cleanest air and water as they enjoy exploring bountiful forests and snowy peaks.
- Work-Life Balance – A normal working week is between 35 and 40 hours, and one in ten people regularly work fewer than 34 hours. Long before Covid-19, the nation led the rest of the globe in flexible working options. Family time is respected as a priority, meaning that almost equal percentages of men and women work – representing the EU’s most gender equal working population.
- Activities – Skiing and fishing are always on the agenda in Finland. Outdoor types can enjoy national parks with a variety of wildlife, and others can frequent the country’s Design District and range of museums. The wondrous Northern Lights can be seen in the country’s North from mid-August to early April every year. And in Arctic Lapland, it’s always Christmas.
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Interested in working in education outside of the UK? Read our Guide to Teaching Abroad.