Episode 12

From Student to Job-Seeker

In this week’s info-packed episode, Petra and Jean discuss the transition from student life to job-seeking life in Finland. Jean was recently let go from her job due to decreased attendance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, so she will be filling you in on the details of filing as unemployed. Petra is still working on writing her thesis, and has not yet graduated; however, she does have some work experience in Finland. Seeing as the Class of 2020 has recently graduated, Petra and Jean are here to share their wisdom, so that you can learn from their experience.

Jean graduated in June 2019, and stayed in Finland on a type B “Extended Permit to Look for Work.” If you have recently graduated and your student residence permit is expiring, this may be the right option for you, too. Be advised that the online application costs €260.00 each time you apply, and this can add up over the years. To file for an extended residence permit, you will need your diploma, bank statements, and a valid passport. You will need to visit Migri to be identified, and then you should be prepared to wait about two weeks for processing.

After being let go from her job, Jean went to declare self unemployed at TE. She advises starting this process early, so that they can track your progress. Keep in mind that they are not there to help you find a job, only to track your employment status. Also, be advised that the website is in Finnish and may be difficult to navigate depending upon your Finnish language abilities.

After visiting TE, Jean was sent to KELA where she unfortunately did not qualify for benefits. KELA benefit eligibility has become more strict over time, and foreigners living in Finland increasingly struggle to qualify for benefits. For example, to qualify for study support, you need to have lived in Finland for five years. However, this does change every year, so be sure to check the website below for the most current information.

Luckily, Jean did qualify for a KELA card, which provides the same basic healthcare that Finnish citizens receive at public hospitals. When Petra closed her finger in a door, she paid nothing for an exam and X-ray because she also had a KELA card (we do not advise testing this at home). Keep in mind that fees vary by specialist, and you may still need to pay out of pocket with a KELA card.

If you are fortunate enough to find employment in Finland, the country’s centralized information system makes working with different agencies easier. You will need to obtain a tax card, which shows your tax burden by income. Your employer will also need a copy of your tax card.

To register as employed, you simply need to walk in to the tax office and show your employment contract.

If you are an EU citizen who has registered your right to residence in Finland or are a permanent resident, you may be eligible to register for online ID recognition. If so, you can handle many bureaucratic tasks online rather than visiting each office. The steps for registering online ID recognition are below:

  1. Obtain a Finnish ID card for foreigners at any police station (you will need to pay around €65 and have a Finnish phone number).
  2. Pick up your ID card, and take it to your bank.
  3. You bank will assign an online ID to your bank account
  4. Voila! You have now unlocked the possibility to complete the tax card process online, including entering income adjustments. You can also now download the Posti app to see incoming parcels and pay invoices

Don’t forget to give episode 12 a listen and check out the links below for more details about unemployment applications and processing employment documents, information on the different agencies you may have to deal with during your employment search, and details about several types of permits you may need to obtain.


Extended Permit to Look for Work

TE Office (Unemployment office)

KELA (Social Services)

Criminal Clearance Report for Employment (paper and online form)

Online application for ALL types of residence permits