Living in Finland

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Finnish social security

This page contains information about the residence-based social security provided by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela). The page indicates the situations in which you are considered to be covered by social security that is based on residence.

The Infopankki page Unemployment security contains more information about who is entitled to unemployment security. More information about the Finnish pension system can be found on the Infopankki page Pension.

Kela manages social security services and benefits, such as the national pension, child benefit, basic unemployment security, sickness and parenthood allowance, and rehabilitation. Kela also provides health care benefits paid for private health care.

The grounds for Kela benefits are defined by law. You must apply separately to be covered by Finnish social security. Each benefit must also be applied for separately. When deciding on a benefit, Kela reviews the life situation of each applicant individually.

The situations in life and needs for benefit often vary greatly between applicants. Therefore, the amounts and grounds of the benefits also vary. Always clarify your own situation separately.

Kela does not handle health and social services that are the responsibility of municipalities. Persons who have health insurance in Finland receive a Kela card. If your municipality of residence is in Finland, you are entitled to public health care even if you do not have a Kela card.

You can find more information about the right to a municipality of residence on the Infopankki page Municipality of residence in Finland.

linkkiKela:
Information on social securityFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiKela:
Social security of a person moving to Finland(pdf, 560 kb)Finnish | Swedish | English | Russian | Estonian

linkkiKela:
Information on health insuranceFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiMinistry of Social Affairs and Health:
Information about Finnish social securityEnglish

Being covered by Finnish social security

As a general rule, if you reside permanently in Finland, you are covered by Finnish social security and can receive Kela benefits. The law defines what is meant by permanent residence.

Working in Finland can also result in your being covered by Finnish social security.

Are you covered by social security and are you entitled to benefits? This is affected by whether you are moving to Finland

  • from a Nordic country,
  • a country belonging to the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland or
  • a country with which Finland has a social security agreement.

The EEA countries include the EU countries, along with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Your eligibility for social security and benefits is also affected by the capacity in which you are moving to Finland, for example:

  • employee or entrepreneur
  • student
  • family member
  • seconded employee.

Finland has made agreements regarding social security with a number of countries. These countries are the Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland), The United States, Canada and Quebec, Chile, Israel, India and Australia. The agreements primarily apply to pensions. Some of them also concern health care. If you are coming from one of these countries, check with Kela whether or not these agreements affect your social security.

linkkiFinlex:
Municipality of Residence ActFinnish | Swedish

linkkiKela:
Information on social security agreements between different countriesFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiKela:
Information on Finnish social security for citizens of EU countriesFinnish | Swedish | English

Moving to Finland permanently and living in Finland permanently

When you move to Finland, Kela always first assesses whether or not you are moving to the country permanently, as defined by the social security legislation.

It is good to be aware that permanent residence is defined differently between acts. In this context, the social security legislation is covered.

If you are not deemed to be moving to Finland for permanent residence, you may still be entitled to coverage by the Finnish social security based on your work.

You may be considered to be moving to Finland permanently in the following cases, for example:

  • You are a returnee, i.e. you are returning to Finland from abroad.
  • You have an employment contract, or similar agreement, regarding work you will be conducting in Finland.
  • You are married to or in an otherwise close family relationship with a person who is already a permanent resident of Finland.

In addition, if you are obliged to obtain a residence permit, your permit must normally be for at least 12 months.

An overall assessment of the situation will be prepared. Based on this, it will be considered whether or not your residence is permanent.

If you are moving to Finland temporarily, you are not entitled to Finnish social security. For example, students are considered to reside in Finland temporarily when their only reason for being in the country is studying.

Once the decision has been made that you are a permanent resident of Finland, you will be regarded as such for as long as:

  • you have your primary residence and home in the country, and you spend most of your time in Finland

or

  • you have some other reason for your permanent residence in Finland, such as a family tie or work.

However, if you begin work in another country or go abroad for more than a year, your entitlement to Finnish social security may be terminated. More information about these situations is available from Kela.

There are also benefits that you cannot receive if you are not, or have not previously been, a permanent resident of Finland. For example, parents can only receive parenthood allowance if they have lived in Finland for at least 180 days directly before the child’s expected date of delivery. If you are coming from another EU country, however, you can in some cases utilise the insurance periods you have accumulated in the other EU country. Ask for more information at Kela.

linkkiKela:
Social security of a person moving to FinlandFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiKela:
Moving abroad and social securityFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiKela:
Contact information for KelaFinnish | Swedish | English

Working entitles you to at least partial coverage by Finnish social security

EU countries, EEA countries and Switzerland

If you are moving to Finland for work from within the European Union, an EEA country or Switzerland, you are normally entitled to coverage by Finnish social security, even when you have a short employment contract.

Examples:

  • If you are coming to work for less than four months, you may be entitled to home-care allowance and public health care.
  • If your employment lasts four months or longer, you will be covered by Finnish social security for the duration of your employment.

Other countries

If you are coming to Finland for work from a country other than Switzerland outside the EU or EEA region, the following factors affect your social security:

  • The length of your employment
  • The country from which you are moving to Finland

The majority of Kela benefits require you to move to Finland permanently to be entitled to them, or to have an employment relationship which lasts at least four months. In addition, you must meet the same requirements for benefits as other residents of Finland.

If you are not moving to Finland permanently, you are normally covered by Finnish social security for the duration of your employment. Your employment must last at least four months and your working hours and salary must be sufficient. In addition, you must have a residence permit which includes the right to work.

The minimum requirement for working hours is usually 18 hours a week. The salary must be accordant with the collective agreement, or if one is not available for the field, at least €1,173 per month (2016 level).

linkkiKela:
Employees and Finnish social securityFinnish | Swedish | English

Asylum seeker

Asylum seekers are not entitled to social security in Finland. This means that they cannot obtain social security benefits from Kela.

The reception centre pays asylum seekers a reception allowance. The allowance is paid until the asylum application has been processed. The reception allowance is a small amount of money intended for necessary expenses.

Asylum seekers who are granted a residence permit and who live permanently in Finland are entitled to social security in Finland. Persons who have been granted a residence permit can apply for coverage under the Finnish social security system from Kela.