Finland is the best place for foreigners to obtain Overseas Engineer Registration in Finland. The Finnish Government accredited and approved educational system makes it easy for foreigners (students from third world countries) to live and work there as expatriate professionals. It is this fact that makes a high demand for overseas engineers in Finland to fill the shortage that has been driving the need for implementing an Overseas Engineer Scheme.
If you are an internationally educated engineer and wish to work in Finland, you will require the Overseas Engineer Registration. In this article, we will analyze more about this process including how and why we need it.
What is Overseas Engineer Registration in Finland?
Overseas engineers who wish to work in Finland have to be registered in the engineering register maintained by the Finnish Board of Education.
- If you are an EU citizen and your degree is issued by a university in an EU or EEA member state, you can start working in Finland without any further action.
- Otherwise, you need to register with the Board of Education.
The registration process is time-consuming and can take up to one year or longer. For this reason, it is recommended that you start the process well in advance before coming to Finland.
You can apply for registration provided that:
- you are a citizen of a country other than an EU or EEA member state; and
- your foreign degree does not give entitlement to register as an engineer, architect or town planner in another EU or EEA member state; and
- your foreign degree does not give entitlement to register as an engineering technician or draughtsman in another EU or EEA member state, and
- you have completed at least three years of university-level studies abroad (one year study period equals 60 credits). For example, studies equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree from a Finnish university are required.
The main purpose of the overseas Engineer Registration is to make it easier for engineers who wish to work in Finland.
In order to apply for registration, the applicant must have passed the required Finnish language examination for foreign engineers.
Why do you need Overseas Engineer Registration?
Overseas engineer registration enables you to use the Finnish professional title Insinööri (Engineer) or Diploma-insinööri (Engineering Technician) if you have at least three years of work experience in the field. However, you must also have completed your studies abroad and received a degree that is considered equivalent to the Finnish degrees Insinööri (amk) or Teknologian tuck into (ylempi AMK). The degree must be granted by a university or UAS abroad, and be from an engineering or technology program.
In Finland, the title Insinööri is protected under law and can only be used by those who have completed an engineering degree in Finland or have been granted overseas engineer registration with Valvira.
The main objective of Overseas Engineer Registration (OR) is to protect the health and safety of the public.
- in general, may have different knowledge and skills from those of local engineers.
- To protect the health and safety of the public by ensuring that new infrastructure projects are designed, built, operated, and maintained by competent, responsible individuals with suitable qualifications.
- To ensure that overseas engineers who are registered are competent to practice as engineers and provide engineering services in their registered fields in accordance with applicable codes and standards for professional engineering practice in Finland.
- To protect the public from incompetent or irresponsible engineers that may endanger their health and safety by providing engineering services in their registered fields.
Are you allowed to practice under Finnish law with only a foreign professional qualification
The answer is yes –
- if you have a professional qualification from a country outside the EU and EEA area
- You have to have a professional qualification from a country outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland and wish to practice under Finnish law using your foreign professional title.
- This can be allowed if you have a professional qualification that is comparable with an educational qualification awarded in Finland.
- The qualifications are compared with each other on the basis of the content and level of the studies. The comparison takes into account whether the qualifications allow you to practice in another country and what the requirements for working in that country are.
The comparison takes into account whether the qualifications allow you to practice in another country and what the requirements for working in that country are.
Not all professional titles are registered; only those titles listed in Decree (36/1998) are registered.
If your profession is not registered, you cannot use your title when practicing under Finnish law.
You should be prepared for your application process to take several months to complete. You will need to provide us with extensive information about your education, work experience, and current work situation, as well as other required documents
Finnish employers generally expect their engineers to have a degree from an approved Finnish university or an equivalent degree from another European country or the United States. Engineers from other countries need to register at the Finnish Board of Education to work as engineers in Finland.
The registration process is long because you need to translate your foreign engineering qualifications and have a recognized authority determine their equivalence with the Finnish engineering education system. You may also be asked to take additional courses.
The entire process can take up to a year, so if you are planning on moving to Finland, plan ahead and register before you move!
What are the requirements to be admitted to registration?
In order to register, applicants must show that they have appropriate engineering qualifications and relevant work experience.
1: In order to be allowed to practice in Finland under that law you must hold a degree in engineering/architecture from a Finnish institution or have received your foreign qualification in a country with which Finland has concluded an agreement on mutual recognition.
2: You must have proof of your competence, at least three years of professional experience, and good knowledge of Finnish or Swedish.
3: The Act on Professional Engineers does not apply to the following professionals: those who work as technicians under the supervision of a professional engineer referred to above, those who work as technicians within the scope of their official duties, those who work as technicians under the supervision and responsibility of another technician, craftsmen and other professionals who do not need a title to practice their profession.
4: For non-Finns with a foreign professional qualification, registration can be applied for from the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland. They will decide if you are qualified to practice under this law.
5: If you are allowed to practice under this law the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland will issue you with an authorization card allowing you legal access to the profession.
What must you do before the registration application is submitted?
An engineer from another country can apply for an Overseas Engineer Registration if he/she lives in Finland or if he/she plans to move to Finland. If you have an engineering degree from a university or polytechnic school, and you wish to work as an engineer in Finland, you can apply for the registration.
It is not necessary to apply for the registration if you are working as an engineer in Finland on a temporary basis (less than one year). If you are planning to live and work permanently as an engineer in Finland, you must have a valid registration.
The registration is granted by the center for international mobility CIMO. The application is made through the website of CIMO.
It is not necessary to speak Finnish or Swedish before applying for the registration, but it is recommended that you learn Finnish and/or Swedish in order to be able to communicate with your customers and colleagues.
The Finnish Work Environment Act (738/2002) contains provisions on the capacity of professionals to work in Finland. In addition, the Act contains provisions on the conditions for the establishment and operation of companies in Finland, and provisions on foreign employees’ rights to work in Finland. The specific provisions are contained in Chapter 4 of the Act.
The Work Environment Act stipulates that those who have completed a degree abroad can only practice under Finnish law if they meet the same requirements as those who have completed their basic education in Finland. The same applies to those whose qualifications are recognized as equivalent to a Finnish qualification.
The Act also specifies that professional skills acquired outside Finland must be assessed by an authority with an assessment mandate as required by law, or by an assessment body approved by an authority with an assessment mandate as required by law before the persons concerned are allowed to practice under Finnish law.
Engineering in Finland is regulated by the Act on Engineers.
According to this Act, only a person who has completed appropriate engineering studies and who has been admitted to the register of engineers may use the designation “engineer”.
To be able to practice engineering in Finland, you need a right to practice. The right to practice is granted by the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH).
You can apply for the right to practice as an engineer if you have completed a foreign degree of at least three years in length. For the right to practice, you also need to complete a one-year job placement or a two-year traineeship in Finland under the supervision of an engineer who has been granted the right to practice.
You can also apply for the right to practice as an engineer if you have at least five years of experience as an engineer and your professional skills are up-to-date. In this case, you do not need a degree or a job placement, or a traineeship.
If you already have the right to practice your profession in another EEA country, you can apply for it in Finland on the basis of that registration.
How to apply for a Finnish Personal Code
If you are staying in Finland for a longer period of time, you will need a Finnish personal identity code. A personal code is needed for example when you open a bank account or receive your salary.
You need to complete and submit the form Application for a Finnish personal identity code. If you do not already have one, remember to apply for a passport and fill in the application with the passport number.
You need to give your original documents in person at the police station or at the Local Register Office. Photocopies are not accepted.
The following documents must be attached:
- a valid passport or another official travel document;
- an original copy of the education certificate (diploma/degree certificate);
- an official translation of the education certificate, if it is not written in English, Finnish, or Swedish;
- a list of work experience and/or reference letters from previous employers which state your job title and period of employment;
- a marriage certificate (if married).
The purpose of this service is to provide non-EU/EEA citizens with a Personal Code if they work in Finland but do not have the right to reside in the country. The service is meant for non-EU/EEA citizens who work in Finland temporarily and do not receive a Finnish Personal Code from the Finnish Immigration Service.
In most cases, you do not need to apply for an Engineer Registration Card if you are working as a:
- the self-employed person in engineering;
- student; or
- a person employed by an international organization, such as the UN.
You only need the card if you want your employer to register you with the Preventive Occupational Health Care Register. You can also use your engineer registration card as proof of identity, which may be useful when opening a bank account.
What are the working hours in Finland as Engineer?
Engineering work in Finland ranges from 35 to 40 hours per week, depending on the employer. Most employers have a collective agreement that specifies the number of weekly working hours.
In Finland, an employer may not make their employees work more than 48 hours per week on average during a period of four months. If you still want to work longer, your employer must pay you overtime pay (at least 50% of your regular hourly wage).
Before your departure to Finland, make sure to get information about working hours and overtime pay from your employer.
Both types of permits allow you to work full-time and include your dependants (but not your parents). If your employer is offering a job and paying taxes, they must provide you with a contract in writing which specifies the nature of the job, period of employment, and salary.
If you wish to emigrate, then there are five different ways that this can be done:
The Job Search Visa allows people who are actively seeking work in Finland to stay here for up to six months while looking for employment. The visa is valid when it has been issued by an embassy or consulate abroad, but it can only be used once it has been endorsed by Finnish Immigration Service in Finland. Whilst in Finland on this visa, applicants may only engage in short periods of paid or unpaid work (one-month maximum) or participate in an internship (three months maximum).
Applicants must prove that they have at least EUR 560 per month available for their own support during their time here.
What kind of salary can I expect in Finland as an Engineer?
The minimum wage in Finland is around EURO 1,500 per month
which increases to EURO 2,000 per month if you have a family with you in Finland. After paying your taxes and health insurance, your net income will be approximately EURO 1,200 per month for a single person and EURO 1,700 if you have a family with you in Finland.
Housing costs vary according to location and type of accommodation, but as a rule of thumb, we advise that you budget for a monthly rent of at least EUR 0.5 million per month (including utilities) for an unfurnished apartment in Helsinki.
If you want to work in Finland as an engineer, you need an OPR. It means that you can be employed in any field of engineering. In order to get the OPR, you must fulfill some requirements. For example, you must have a university degree or qualification corresponding to a Finnish university degree or qualification giving access to higher education and either at least five years’ experience as an engineer in Finland or abroad or at least ten years’ full-time work experience as an engineer in a recognized profession on the list of professions for which higher education is required for registration or at least three years’ full-time work experience as an engineer in another country outside Finland within the last ten years (in addition to qualification according to paragraph 1) without higher education but with the relevant qualifications and work experience.