The technology industry is the largest export industry in Finland. Technology companies operate in international markets, attracting income to Finland that is paramount to maintaining the welfare state, with operations constituting over 50% of all Finnish exports.
Nearly 300,000 Finns work in technology companies, while a total of around 700,000 people work in the technology sector either directly or indirectly. Responsible for 80% of all investment in research and development carried out in Finland, technology companies play a vital role in the future success of the country.
Finland stands out as the top country in ICT, according to the European Commission Digital Economy and Society Index. Relatively speaking, Finland’s ICT sector is bigger than that of its European peers – and no country can match the Finns for advanced IT skills.
It is a country where 2.2% of graduates under 30 hold a degree in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects, compared with 1.9% in Denmark and 1.6% in Germany.
If you intend to work in Finland, you need a residence permit granted by the state of Finland.
Residence permit for an employed person
If you want to work in Finland as a specialist, apply for a residence permit on those grounds.
You may be considered to be a specialist if
- your work tasks are demanding and require university studies.
- Your salary is higher than average, at least approximately 3,000 euro gross pay per month.
In your application, you must prove that you meet these criteria. These tests are used to evaluate whether you can be considered to be a specialist.
Specialists include, for example,
- IT experts,
- experts in a special field who have a university degree,
- and other persons who have a university degree and whose duties require special expertise
You may work in Finland without a residence permit if you are coming to Finland to work in any of the positions listed below. You must, however, have a valid visa (if a visa is required from you) or a Schengen residence permit granted by another country, which allows you to reside in Finland for a short-term period. If you are exempt from the visa requirement, you may work in Finland without a residence permit for the duration of your visa-free residing time.
You do not need a residence permit for an employed person or any other residence permit in the following cases:
- you are a specialist; you work by an invitation or a contract, and the duration of the job is no longer than 90 days.
Finland has a progressive taxation system with relatively high rates of personal income tax. These are used along with employer contributions to fund Finland’s extensive and high-quality public health and social security systems.
Foreign nationals who live and work in Finland for less than six months are classed as tax non-residents and are only required to pay taxes on Finnish sources of income and capital. Income tax is deducted at source at a flat rate of 35%, and there is no need for them to sign a formal tax declaration.
Anyone living and working in Finland for six months or more is taxed on the same basis as Finnish citizens, is required to submit a Finnish income tax return, and must pay state and municipal taxes on their worldwide income and capital.
Income tax brackets for 2015, for tax on earned income payable under Finnish income tax law No 1535/1992:
|Taxable earned income
|Tax on income above the lowest tax bracket
|16 500—24 700||6.5|
|24 700—40 300||17.5|
|40 300—71 400||21.5|
|71 400—90 000||29.75|
In calculating your taxable income, take into account:
- tax allowances available if you are a Finnish resident
- possible deductions for certain types of expenditure
You must also pay municipal income tax: 16.5 — 22.5% ( depending on the municipality).
Your employer will deduct the tax and social security contributions due from your salary.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Finland is high, but near average for Western European countries. Obviously, expats in the main cities will have higher living costs than they would in more rural areas.
You can expect to pay about €844 for monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 Sqft) furnished studio in the common area of Helsinki, Finland. With €44 for utilities for one month (heating, electricity, gas) for one person in 45 m2 (480 Sqft) studio.
Monthly ticket public transport will cost you €52, or €1.39 for 1 liter of gas if you drive.
Basic dinner out for two in neighborhood pub will cost you around €40; 2 tickets to the movies about €24; 1 beer in neighborhood pub (500ml or 1pt. – €5.91);
Primary lunchtime menu (including a drink) in the business district – €12.
Finland scored 184 points of cost of living index, comparing to 272 points in San Francisco, USA and 67 points in Kiev, Ukraine. (According to Internet research expatistan.com).