In the midst of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies still continue to recruit from all over the world. They have adjusted their working models, recruitment and onboarding models to fit the current and why not, the new normal. The main lesson to take from them is that when you need talent to remain competitive and survive by succeeding, and when this talent is not available locally, nothing can stop you from finding the talent internationally.
When recruiting internationally, the process from opening the job advertisement to having the person start has been traditionally longer. During the first wave of the pandemic, this process became even longer due to the travel restrictions, immigration process challenges, etc.
What we have observed, as a relocation partner, has been the amazing flexibility and patience of many of our customers, who find ways to employ their new recruits remotely, assist and support them through a long and complicated relocation process, because they value and believe that their talent will make a difference in the company’s success.
As of this moment, it is possible to relocate to Finland from almost all countries. We listed below 7 things to consider and plan for.
1. Travel restrictions
With the second wave of the pandemic, many countries still apply travel restrictions both on arriving as well as on departing travelers. Remember to check the possible current restrictions on the employee leaving their home country as well as the current restrictions on arriving travelers to Finland.
2. Permit process bottlenecks
The residence permit process has a couple of bottlenecks at the moment. The main challenge during the pandemic has been to pass the identification phase. Depending on the local situation and restrictions, the Finnish representations have been closed or accepting very limited number of customers for identification to submit their residence permit applications. Unfortunately, this step is obligatory and does not have a remote alternative. Regardless of the challenging situation, Finland’s representations have started to gradually accept customers.
Another challenge has been the identification step in Finland, should the applicant submit their application in Finland or apply for a residence permit application. The availability of appointments, especially at the immigration office’s Helsinki service point, has been very limited and planning would be crucial. On a positive side – the deadlines for identification at Finnish missions as well as service points has been extended.
3. Temporary accommodation for the self-quarantine period
Travelers from almost any country are required to remain in a 10-day self-quarantine period upon their arrival. Thus it is important to provide a functional place to stay for these first days and make sure your new employee has all necessities as well as all tools, especially if they start remote work right away. Our partner Forenom provides flexible quarantine solutions for these situations.
It is possible to shorten the self-quarantine by two negative COVID tests – if the arriving employee has a negative coronavirus test certificate that is less than 72 hours old at the time of arrival in Finland and takes another test 72 hours after arrival. If the second test is also negative, then the voluntary quarantine can be shortened.
4. Arrival and self-quarantine
The arriving employee and their family will be required to remain in a self-quarantine for 10 days before being able to start their registration process, start school or any other activities. Make sure to provide a lot of information on the local requirements and practices related to the self-quarantine as they differ in the different countries. Support your employee in making arrangements for these first days – to get food, other necessities, any tools that may be needed for the family or the remote work.
5. Local registrations
The local registration process is a little bit more complex during the pandemic as some registrations require an appointment, while others may be done remotely. Planning and scheduling should be done well in advance, to ensure a relatively quick registration process. Please note that the processing times of some of the registrations may be slightly prolonged and thus affect other registrations. It would be good to allow for about a week for completing the local registrations.
6. Health guidance and concerns
Travelling during the pandemic is very overwhelming for many of our customers. In this case travelling incudes a higher health risk for your employee and their family. Make sure to support them in obtaining all the information they need as well as travel insurance for the travel and the first weeks until their registration process is complete. Note that the family members’ registration process takes even longer, so it is recommended for them to have a health insurance for a longer period.
7. Employee onboarding
The employee onboarding will certainly be more challenging than before. Getting to know your new colleague and making them feel welcome without meeting in person requires extra planning and effort. This is a process that can start already before arrival and continue after their arrival stating the actual work. Remember that your new employee does not have the usual coffee breaks and casual small talk where they can hear about all the small new updates that happen around the office and get acquainted with their colleagues. This means that they need to be briefed on all internal communication channels, breakrooms, news channels and even on who is who in the company, so they can know to whom they can turn to in the different occasions.