Finland has recently finished the legislative process of implementing the European Intra Corporate Transfer Directive 2014/66/EU (“ICT Directive”). The ICT Directive aims to simplify and facilitate the temporary business immigration of third-country nationals within the European Union. Moreover, the ICT Directive encourages larger companies and groups to send their experts for internal assignments at their EU-based units.
Principally, the new legislation governs internal assignments of non-EU/EEA nationals transferring to Finland within a global company or group of companies. For this object, the regulation introduces two new residence permit types.
The changes explained below will take effect on 1 January 2018.
Who might benefit from the change?
Managers, specialists and employed trainees transferring from third countries to Finland under the same company or group of companies are eligible to apply for an ICT residence permit, which has certain benefits compared to the standard employment based residence permits.
In particular, it is expected that the ICT residence permit will replace the current specialist residence permit in connection with internal assignments.
Longer residence permits in shorter time
Whereas regular residence permits are usually granted first for a period of one year, the new ICT residence permit can be obtained for the duration of the entire transfer. The maximum duration of the transfer on ICT residence permit is three years for managers and specialists, and one year for trainees.
Furthermore, the ICT residence permit is processed within 90 days from the date on which the complete application was submitted, which marks a slightly shorter maximum processing time compared to the four-month long processing time of standard residence permits based on employment.
Better intra-EU mobility possibilities
The most significant change along with the new act is that it enables third-country nationals holding a valid ICT residence permit to transfer to and work in Finland, even if the permit had initially been issued by another EU Member State. The precondition for this is that the employee transfers within the same company or group of companies.
If the employee will be transferring to Finland for up to 90 days in a 180-day period, a mere notification process along with certain documentation is required. This signifies a notable improvement, as traditionally the residence permits have been strictly country-specific.
In longer assignments, the employee should apply for a mobile ICT residence permit in Finland. The authorities must process such permit within 90 days from the date on which the complete application was submitted.
In both cases, the employee is allowed to start working immediately after entering the country, even if the application process is pending. However, either the notification or the application should be submitted before arrival in Finland.
Our experts will be happy to provide further information on the new act and assess your company’s residence permit possibilities regarding upcoming internal assignments.