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Working abroad and job-seeking in the EU

Working abroad

Membership

If you work abroad, i.e. as a worker posted abroad by a Finnish employer, you should retain membership of your unemployment fund, as this ensures that the work in question will be considered to have been carried out in Finland from the point of view of the unemployment protection. In cases such as this, you must apply for Certificate A1 from the Finnish Centre for Pensions.

In other situations, it’s a good idea to ask your own unemployment fund about retaining your membership, as they will be able to provide you with more detailed advice based on your situation.

Like Finland, Sweden and Denmark also have unemployment funds and you must join the local unemployment funds in these countries in order for you to receive an earnings-related daily allowance while in Sweden or Denmark, or so that the periods of work you do can be approved in Finland. Other EU countries have general unemployment insurance, which does not require you to take special measures while in work.

Having work carried out abroad approved in Finland

It is possible to have work done in other EU countries be approved as work by the Finnish system. Therefore, if you become unemployed before you have worked for a long enough time in Finland to receive your earnings-related allowance, the conditions for this allowance may be met on the basis of work carried out in another EU country. In order for work done in Sweden or Denmark to be approved by the Finnish system, you must have been a member of the local unemployment fund while carrying out this work.

In order to receive the earnings-related allowance on the basis of work done in another EU country

  • You must have worked for at least 4 weeks in Finland immediately before becoming unemployed OR been self-employed in Finland for at least four months AND
  • You must have joined a Finnish unemployment fund within four weeks of moving to Finland.

However, the four weeks of work or four months of self-employment in Finland are not required if

  • During your work, you have been living in Finland and remained completely unemployed OR
  • You are a so-called five-year returning national, i.e. you last worked in a Nordic country and have been in work in Finland for the last five years, or received a daily allowance in Finland. In this case, you have eight weeks instead of four weeks to join a Finnish unemployment fund.

Periods of entrepreneurship can also be approved by the Finnish system if you have been engaged in a business activity in a country in which entrepreneurial activity qualifies you for unemployment benefits.

If you have last worked in Finland or you are a five-year returning national as described above, the amount of your earnings-related allowance is calculated from your earnings in Finland. However, if you have lived in Finland while working in another EU country, the amount of your earnings-related allowance is calculated from the income you have received from the work done in the EU country in question.

Your dealings with the Finnish unemployment fund will be much smoother if you have requested a U1 form from your country of departure. The form includes information about your periods in work. The fund may also request this information directly from the authority of the country of departure.

The work done by a worker posted abroad for a Finnish employer is no different from the work done in Finland in regard to the unemployment protection. Therefore, the condition required to receive the earnings-related allowance will accumulate during this work, which does not have to have been done in Finland. In cases such as this, you must apply for Certificate A1 from the Finnish Centre for Pensions in advance.

Work carried out in non-EU countries, other than as a posted worker, will not be approved by the Finnish system. To obtain the earnings-related allowance in Finland, you must meet all the conditions for receipt of a daily allowance in Finland.

EU countries

EU countries include: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain and Northern Ireland (excluding the Channel Islands – Alderney, Guernsey, Jersey – and the Isle of Man), Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.

Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland also comply with the EU’s Social security agreement. The transfer of periods of work and journeys related to job-seeking is also possible in these countries.

Working in a non-resident country (frontier worker)

A frontier worker is a person who works in an EU country other than his or her country of residence. The extent to which a frontier worker is unemployed determines which country pays any unemployment benefits.

  1. If you are partially unemployed (for example due to layoffs or part-time work), unemployment benefit is paid by the social security institution of the country in which this work is done.
  2. If you are completely unemployed, unemployment benefit is paid by the social security institution of your country of residence.

To get unemployment benefits, you must register as a job-seeker in the country that pays your unemployment benefits.

Job searching in the EU

You can travel to another EU country for three months in order to look for work. Your unemployment fund will pay the earnings-related allowance for the period in which you are job-seeking in the same way as during time spent in Finland. In order for your travel to meet the criteria set for job-seeking abroad, you must not have a valid employment relationship and you must have been registered as an unemployed job-seeker at the TE Office for at least four weeks.

Remember the following if you want to travel abroad for the purpose of job-seeking:

  1. Contact the TE Office in order for them to assess whether the conditions for a job search trip have been met and send this information to your unemployment fund. Your unemployment fun will then send you a U2 form.
  2. Register with the local labour authority in the country of destination within seven days of departure and present the U2 form you received from the fund.

If you register in the country of destination later than within seven days, the daily allowance may be granted only from the date of registration.

More information and the contact details of EU national authorities is available here.

Where possible, you should also consult a EURES adviser. EURES advisers are experts who provide information, guidance, and placement services for job-seekers and employers interested in the European labour market.

The payment of the earnings-related allowance may continue after the three-month job-seeking period if you register as a job-seeker in Finland within three months of your departure. If your return is delayed from this point of time, your earnings-related allowance can only be paid after you have been in work in Finland or in training organised by the TE Office for four weeks.