Ten steps to working and living in Finland, Finnish business culture and taxation in a nutt shell.
1. Find out about jobs on offer and the requirements for them. Visit the websites of the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment , the European Employment Services network and the Employment and Economic Development Office, for example. Firms specialising in job recruitment can be found on the Internet, and Finnish newspapers and their websites have job advertisements, though these are mostly in Finnish (see Oikotie or Uratie).
2. Find out about visa requirements and travel documents accepted by Finland (by country) on the Formin website. Find out what permits you will need to live and work in Finland from the Finnish Immigration Service website.
3. Do you need recognition for your educational qualifications? Ask for an application at recognition(at)oph.fi (National Board of Education). For the healthcare sector, applications should be addressed to the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health.
4. To find a place to live and to open a bank account, go first to your employer, who will be able to guide you to the local services. Regarding integration and language matters, children's schooling, healthcare and social security, turn to the local authorities in your new home municipality. Every Finnish municipality has its own website, so start by looking at the general municipal website. Social security is managed by the Social Insurance Institution (Kela). Information about pensions can be found at the Central Pension Security Institute.
5. What should you bring and what are you allowed to bring with you into Finland? See the Finnish Customs website.
6. Anyone staying in Finland for at least a year must register with the Finnish population data system. See the Local Register Offices' website. You can also find relevant information on the Population Register Centre’s website.
8. Does an immigrant have to pay tax, and how is that done? Read the taxation section and find out more from the tax administration website.
9. Will you need further vocational training or courses in Finnish? Study the options at the education portal.
The national helpline ('Työlinja') of the employment offices provides personal advice about work-related permits, jobs and labour market training. The service is available in Finnish, Swedish and English, tel: +358 10 19 4904 (from Finland 010 19 4904), email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published in thisisFINLAND.
Prior appointments are necessary for all business. Government visits can be made by letter, fax, email or preferably by phone. A characteristic of Finnish telephone etiquette is giving your full name when calling.
When introducing themselves, Finns state their first name and last name as they shake hands. Visitors should follow suit.
Meetings are usually to the point and begin on time with little small talk. Meetings often follow a pre-set agenda and are orderly with one person speaking at a time. People are well prepared for meetings and negotiations. The Finnish idea of team working is that of a group of capable individuals being given the opportunity to complete well-defined tasks which, when put together, will enable the team to reach its goals. Each team member works conscientiously at their allotted tasks.
People are expected to contribute to a meeting or conversation only when they have something of importance to say. Being silent in Finland means being polite and interested in what the speaker is saying. Silence is part of the overall communication pattern and Finns are more comfortable with silence than most other nationalities. In presentations, Finns prefer modesty rather than sales talk.
More and more younger people of both sexes hold executive positions and the number of women in managerial positions is growing. Women and men are treated as equals in the workplace.
A wide variety of styles and levels of formality can be observed when it comes to dress codes.
Business meals are usually held over lunch and it is not considered bad manners to discuss business related issues over the meal. It is unusual for alcohol to be taken with lunch. Over dinner, alcohol can be served. Conversation is varied and tends to concentrate more on other issues than business at hand. Sports, weather, travelling and hobbies are common topics for discussion.
In Finland, all income is taxable. The Tax Office supplies tax cards, which must be presented to employers as soon as an individual starts in a new job. Without a tax card, all income will be taxed at 60 per cent.
The tax card will have a tax percentage written on it. The tax percentage depends on your income level.
If an individual does other work in addition to their primary employment, a tax card for additional income must be obtained, and must also be immediately disclosed to the employer. A tax return must always be filed.