Social security coverage for employees and self-employed persons

You can be entitled to Kela benefits both on the basis of permanent residence in Finland and employment in Finland. Your social security coverage is mainly affected by the country you come from and for how long you plan to work in Finland.

If you come to Finland as an employee, Kela will, if necessary, also consider your employment when determining whether your residence in Finland can be considered permanent. An open-ended contract of employment or a fixed-term contract of employment of at least 2 years can be taken into account as an indication of a permanent move to Finland. There are also other factors that can indicate residence in Finland. Such factors include a permanent home, or previous residence or employment in Finland.

You can become entitled to social security coverage in Finland immediately upon moving to Finland, if you move to Finland on a permanent basis or if you work in Finland and your wage amounts to at least EUR 741.75 per month (in 2022). However, one requirement for entitlement to benefits such as unemployment allowance is that you have worked for at least 6 months. 

You can become entitled to social security coverage in Finland on the basis of employment even if you are not permanently resident here. However, some benefits, such as general housing allowance, are usually not payable to workers from countries other than the EU or EEA countries, Switzerland or the United Kingdom who are not considered to be permanently resident in Finland.

If your employment ends or your wage is reduced to below EUR 741.75 per month, you may still be entitled to benefits. Benefits can be paid for a maximum of 3 months if you have worked in Finland for at least 6 months before the employment ends or diminishes.

Trainees, au pairs and others with short-term or low-wage jobs are generally not entitled to Kela benefits if the minimum criteria regarding the wage are not met and the residence in Finland is not permanent.

Kela may check the details of a person’s pay and employment from the data that the employer has reported to the national incomes register. If necessary, Kela will ask for further information.

If your initial intention was to work in Finland temporarily but your employment and residence in Finland becomes permanent, you may be entitled to more extensive social security coverage.

Social security coverage for self-employed persons

If you come to Finland from another EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom, and you have worked as a self-employed person continuously for at least 4 months and taken out insurance under the Self-Employed Persons' Pensions Act (YEL), you are as a self-employed person entitled to benefits from the start of your self-employment.

If you move to Finland as a self-employed person from a country other than the EU or EEA countries, Switzerland or the United Kingdom, you are, as a self-employed person, entitled to benefits if your move to and residence in Finland are considered permanent. In addition, you must have taken out insurance under the Self-Employed Persons’ Pensions Act (YEL).

Example

Aarushi, who comes from India, works in Finland for a Finnish company from 1 August 2018 until 28 February 2019. Her stay in Finland is initially intended to be temporary, meaning that she is not entitled to Kela benefits on the basis of residence in Finland. However, as an employee she is entitled to some Kela benefits from the start of the employment if the criteria for the granting of the benefit are met. Such benefits include reimbursements of medical expenses and sickness allowance.

Later Aarushi’s employment is made permanent. Her temporary stay in Finland becomes permanent residence here, and after this she is also entitled to the benefits that are only paid to persons who are resident in Finland. Such benefits include for instance housing allowance and maternity grant.

Check what information Kela has about your residence and employment in Finland in the OmaKela e-service (in Finnish and Swedish only).