…I set the date of the actual move to the end of the same week when I picked the residence permit card at the St. Petersburg consulate. It could have been faster, really. I didn’t do all that much before the move; found a new home for my rabbit, bought boxes for the move, packed my things, visited my parents, resigned from my St. Petersburg job. I actually was on a long unpaid vacation at that point; my boss suggested it to me it case the Finland move doesn’t work out. Although I doubt I would have wanted to return to that job even in that case. And I could have taken the rabbit with me, in theory; the main difficulty would be that I wouldn’t be able to leave him with anyone when I go on vacation or something. But I can assure you that the big-eared rascal is in very reliable hands now, and gets sweet banana and apple treats regularly, along with more healthy food of course.
Mattias warned me that this part could be a little slow because they didn’t have a HR person or anyone else to deal with the paperwork, and he was busy enough as it was. Well, I wasn’t in any hurry.
In a week or so he sent me two documents by email, an employment contract and a TEM-054 form. For two options of applying for a residence permit at once: as an expert and as a regular employee. I guess it’s a good time to examine how these options differ now.
Unlike many other countries Finland, in principle, allows hiring any person from abroad, regardless of qualifications. But it still would be much easier for a specialist. The company would have to fill in much more paperwork for a regular worker; the main paper is the aforementioned form TEM-054. More importantly, the job opening will have to go to the unemployment office, and they will have to make sure there are no possible unemployed candidates from Finland who could fill that position. I suppose it might be possible to state the job requirements in such a way that this step would become a mere formality, but of course I don’t know for sure. But in any case that’s a pretty long process; getting an employee residence permit takes 3-4 months in total.
Things are much easier for a specialist; he or she should get a permit in just a month, and all that is necessary is: 1) a company which is willing to hire them (and made an employment contract with them to prove that); 2) a high enough salary (at least ~3,000 € before tax); 3) high enough qualifications of the person involved. And of course I, and my employer too, had concerns about the third part; this generally means a university degree, which I don’t have, and Migri and most of other relevant official websites say the degree is required. But I saw some mentions on various web forums that it can be substituted by work experience, especially in IT. So of course we hoped for the specialist route, and went for that.
The first thing I have to note here is that this part of course describes my own experience in finding a job in Finland. Job search is kind of an art in itself and there can be no single unified procedure here, while I only ever looked for a job in Finland once, and that didn’t actually take too long. So it’s possible that I miss something in this part.
Okay, so, if you decided to move into Finland on the grounds of having a job here, then you need a job (duh). A good starting point for job search is Monster.fi website. It has only Finnish interface, so you may just well begin to get used to Google Translate being your friend! (Chrome automatically prompts to translate pages in foreign languages, and there are similar extensions for other browsers; I use http://www.sidetree.com/extensions.html#Translate for Safari.) Google Translate by now is fairly good at translating Finnish, and you can read Finnish websites without too much trouble. You should however always choose the option to translate into English, even if that’s not your native language; otherwise Google would actually make two translations, from Finnish into English, and from English into another language, and that will be a big source or errors.
But you probably won’t need to translate much on Monster.fi yet. Just type “php” or “frontend” or whatever kind of developer job you’re looking for into the first field, and optionally a city or a region into the second one. Some (maybe most) of the results will be in Finnish, and others in English. It’s likely, although not certain, that the language of the job advertisement will correspond to the language that is actually used on the job.
Let’s start with reading up a bit on the theoretical part: what do you need to legally live and work in Finland (of course it doesn’t make sense to even consider “illegal” options). In principle you need several papers for that, but there’s only one that’s really important (and which gives you access to others once you’re in Finland): a residence permit (oleskelulupa in Finnish). It is also sometimes known as work permit or work visa, but we’ll use the official term to avoid confusion.
I haven’t written here in a while again, but of course this is not by accident, but rather for the greater good! Writing about various places in Finland (and to lesser extent Sweden and Norway) is fun, but it seems the time has come for a new subject: immigration into Finland! (I began to write about it in my Telegram channel (in Russian), but that was really far too lengthy a topic for it, and so I switched over to the blog.)
This is a Finnish residence permit card (it doesn’t really contain any particularly sensitive information on this side, if you wonder). I got it in November. This is what I went to Finland with.