Moving to the UK from Finland

Relocating from Finland to the UK

Based on the latest statistics, there are 14,000 Finnish nationals living in the UK. Citizens of Finland move to the UK for a wide range of reasons, including joining family members who live here, finding employment, and establishing businesses in the vibrant UK market. While there is no longer freedom of movement between the EU and the UK, it is still perfectly possible for citizens of Finland to permanently relocate to the UK. In this guide, we will show you how to do it. We will explain the legal requirements for nationals of Finland coming to the UK and the cost of living here compared to Finland, and we will provide a relocation checklist to make the process as smooth as possible.

Moving from Finland to the UK after Brexit

After the departure of the UK from the EU at 11pm GMT on the 31st December 2020 (‘Brexit’), it was no longer possible for Finnish nationals to travel, work, and study freely within the UK. Citizens from Finland who were already in the UK before the cut-off date were allowed to stay under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), but those who did not now need to apply for a visa to live in the UK. If you are planning a move from Finland to the UK in 2024/25 or beyond, working with a UK immigration specialist will make the whole process much easier for you. Not only do they understand the immigration process, but they know all of the routes available, including self-sponsorship (see below), and recommend the best route for your needs and those of your family members.

Moving to the UK from Finland benefits

For citizens of Finland, the UK has a great deal to offer, including:

  • A robust and dynamic economy with a wealth of well-paid jobs and excellent business opportunities
  • Minimal bureaucracy, which makes it easy to do business.
  • Rich in culture and heritage (e.g. castles, museums, cathedrals, historical sites, and theatres), offering so much to do and see for Finnish nationals living here.
  • Wonderful countryside, ‘chocolate box’ villages, mountains, hills, and lakes
  • The UK is world-renowned for its educational excellence with institutions such as Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, St Andrews, and University College London (UCL).
  • The UK has an excellent transportation system including road, rail, sea, and air transport. We also have several large international airports, which makes it possible to get a direct flight back to Finland to visit friends and family.

Transforming Lives: Real Stories of Client Satisfaction

"This was my first application for a skilled worker visa and A Y & J helped me through it, making me feel at ease with the process. Very quick replies on e-mails & assistance provided by Imad and Silvia was excellent. Truly could not have had a better experience. Would absolutely recommend them if assistance required."

Isis Smid

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"They are the best, very reliable and always on time"

Mashavave Viola

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"I will be glad to work with you again and again ❤️ you are the best 💋 and l will love to contact you when ever l need your support."

Ogunnaike Olakunle

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"This was our 2nd application for my wife's visa. A Y & J Solicitors were recommend to us and they delivered. Right from the outset. The process was explained thoroughly. We was not pushed to commit. Our appointed Solicitor Nagina was absolutely brilliant. Took all our concerns away and approached our application in a professional manor. Can not recommend enough. Thank you A Y & J & a special thanks to Nagina"

neil Pedder

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"I'm very pleased to recommend Diana and her team. They have consistently provided excellent service and achieved successful outcomes in our applications, thanks in part to Ikra's outstanding casework and exceptional support throughout the process. She ensured we fully understood everything and addressed any questions we had promptly and professionally."

Esmeralda Krutani

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"My experience with the A Y & J and Team was amazing. Mehak was very accessible and honest person which makes you feel instantly at ease. if you are looking for an affordable law firm, that actually treats you like a real person and makes everything run smoothly, then you have found it! I finished all my uk skilled work visa application with A Y & J. Thanks A Y & J."

Sriram Popuru

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Finland

How to set up your finances in the UK?

The UK has a modern digital bank system, which makes managing money simple and straightforward. The banks in the UK require proof of identity and a permanent UK address when opening a new account; hence, we recommend waiting until you arrive here before doing so. Another task you will need to complete once in the UK is applying for your National Insurance (NI) number. It is important that you do this before you start working for your employer.

Tax is also very simple in the UK. If you plan to work in the UK, there is nothing to do because your employer will automatically deduct any tax you owe to His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) from your pay and ensure this is paid on your behalf. If you plan to work for yourself in the UK, you will need to prepare and submit a ‘self-assessment tax return’ to HMRC each year. An accountant in the UK can handle all of this for you.

As an EU / Finnish national with plans to move to the UK, the legal requirements that you need to meet will depend on the visa you apply for. The requirements for a work visa are quite different from those for a business or family visa, but there are also some similarities. The following explains the most popular and commonly used UK visas used by EU and Finnish nationals coming to live in the UK.

UK Skilled Worker visa

The Skilled Worker visa enables Finnish and other EU nationals to live and work in the UK for an initial period of up to 5 years. Holders of this visa can then either apply to renew their visa or for permanent settlement (also called ‘indefinite leave to remain’). Citizens of Finland applying for a UK Skilled Worker visa will need to satisfy the Home Office that they meet all of the following requirements:

  • An offer of a job in an eligible occupation with a UK employer (the employer must be a sponsor licence holder)
  • Receive a minimum salary of £38,700 per year or the ‘going rate’ for the type of work they do. Applicants with a PhD, a job on the UK government’s immigration salary list, and new entrants to the employment market Some applicants may qualify for a lower salary threshold.
  • Satisfy the English language requirement – normally by passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT).

UK Student visa

The UK Student visa enables overseas nationals, including citizens of Finland, to study full-time at a British university, college, or school. Student visas can apply for a UK graduate visa towards the end of their course of study, enabling them to live here for a further 2 years to find work.

To apply for a Student visa, Finnish nationals must:

  • Be at least 16 years
  • Have been offered a place on a course by the school, college, or university
  • Have sufficient savings to maintain themselves
  • Satisfy the English language requirement – normally by passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT).

UK Innovator Founder visa

The Innovator Founder visa affords holders the ability to come to the UK to set up a new business and even acquire permanent residency after just 3 years. This is much faster than the 5 years it normally takes to get residency. Applicants from Finland need to:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have an innovative, feasible, and scalable business idea that is endorsed by an approved endorsement body in the UK
  • Satisfy the English language requirement – normally by passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT).
  • Have enough savings to support themselves and their family members.

The UK has many more visas available to citizens of Finland, including the Family visa and the self-sponsorship visa. Before you apply for a visa, it is important to speak to an expert immigration lawyer based in the UK who will recommend the most advantageous route for your needs and future plans, as well as those of your family.

Get in touch with our immigration experts for help with your move to the UK from Finland

What is the cost of living in the UK?

According to the cost of living comparison website Numbeo:

  • The overall cost of living in the UK is around 3% less than in Finland
  • Rent costs are higher in the UK compared to Finland
  • Eating out is 3% cheaper in the UK compared to Finland
  • Food prices in Finland are 12% higher than in the UK

for anyone considering moving to the UK, it is important to remember that the cost of living and rental varies considerably across the UK. Costs are typically higher in and around London and in the South of England (especially house and rental prices). Looking outside of these areas can make the cost of living in the UK much more affordable.

Emigrating to the UK from Finland – Checklist

Before you make the move to the UK from Finland, we recommend taking the following steps:

  • Find an experienced and trusted immigration specialist in the UK who can help you navigate the immigration system and handle your application on your behalf and with your family. Based on your unique background, current circumstances, and future plans, they can advise you on the best path forward, making the process smooth and painless.
  • Getting a job first is key if you plan to work in the UK. Only once you have a job offer from an approved and licenced sponsor should you apply for your work visa. Remember that you must also have a salary that meets the minimum pay requirements outlined above.
  • Draft yourself a detailed and realistic budget detailing your take-home pay and your likely costs in the UK, including insurance, food, fuel and energy, council tax, etc. If you don’t know how much these costs are likely to be, speak to someone who lives in the UK who can advise you.
  • Estimate your likely moving costs, including transportation, removal fees, storage and rental deposits.
  • Narrow down the areas where you would like to live (i.e. a short list) based on your geographic preferences, cost of living, access to transport links, etc.
  • Visit the UK to finalise any arrangements before you make the move – you can use this opportunity to confirm where you want to live, find a house, and arrange schooling for your children.
  • EU driving licence: If you are under 67 when you become a UK resident, you can drive using your EU license until you turn 70. If you are 67 or older upon residency, you can continue driving with your EU license for up to three years.

What is a Self-Sponsored Route?

The self-sponsorship route makes it even easier for citizens of Finland to move to the UK while providing a pathway to permanent residency and citizenship. Self-sponsorship negates the need to apply for a job in the UK and work for an employer. Instead, Finnish nationals can set up their own business here and work for (and sponsor) themselves. This also removes the risk of losing employment and having to find a new job. AY&J specialises in self-sponsorship and will show you how to leverage this innovative immigration route.

Emigrating to the UK as a non-Finnish national

If you are a non-Finnish national, you will most likely need to apply for a visa to relocate to the UK. As for EU nationals, the UK offers a wide range of visas, with the most suitable visa depending on your nationality, familial connections to the UK, and whether you wish to join family, work or study here. For more details on the visa routes open to non-Finnish citizens, please feel free to discuss your plans with one of our knowledgeable and helpful UK Immigration Solicitors.

Joining UK Family Members as a Non-Finnish National

If you are a non-Finnish national with plans to join family members who already live here, you will need to apply for a UK Family visa. This route will enable you to apply for permanent settlement after 5 years of continuous residence and citizenship a year later. The Family visa enables overseas citizens to move to the UK to be with their British or settled partner, spouse, parent, or child. To make a successful Family visa application, your family must be either:

  • A British citizen
  • A person with indefinite leave to remain (ILR)
  • An EU/EEA national who started living in the UK before 1st January 2021, or a
  • Person with refugee status in the UK.

FAQ’s

What documents and information do I need to move to the UK?

The exact list of documents that you will require to move from Finland to the UK will depend on the type of visa you apply for. For example, to apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa, you may need a valid Finnish passport, evidence of a job offer for an eligible role, an English language test pass certificate, and a bank statement showing you have sufficient savings funds to support yourself and your immediate family members.

Do Finnish citizens need sponsorship to work in the UK?

Yes, if you wish to apply for a work visa in the UK as a national of Finland, you must be a UK-licenced employer. Alternatively, you can consider the self-sponsorship route, which means that your own business can sponsor you.

What should I consider before moving back to the UK from Finland?

Before returning from Finland to the UK, we recommend considering your employment banking arrangements and establishing a credit rating. Remember, you may have lost your credit rating if you have been living outside of the UK for many years, which may make it difficult to secure a mortgage or borrow money. Another key consideration is tax. If you have lived in Finland for more than 5 years, you may need to meet different rules for income and capital gains tax. And finally, there is National Insurance and your pension. We recommend checking whether you will need to ‘top up’ your national insurance contributions so that you are eligible for a UK state pension when you reach retirement age.

Moving from Finland to the UK requirements

Please see the legal requirements for moving from Finland to the UK above.

Can you move to the UK from Finland?

Yes, however, Finnish citizens and their family members require a visa to live in the UK. Please see the visa options explained above.

Are Finnish citizens allowed to work in the UK?

Yes, but you will require a job offer from a sponsoring employer, a certificate of sponsorship, and a work visa granted by the UK Home Office.

Applying for a UK visa from Finland

As a Finnish national, you can apply for a UK visa online through the UK’s Home Office website. You will need to complete the visa application form, pay any fees, and submit the documents required to support your case. An immigration Solicitor in the UK can handle this process for you.

UK entry requirements from Finland

Please see the legal requirements for moving from Finland to the UK above.

How long can a Finnish citizen stay in the UK?

The length of time you can spend in the UK will depend on the type of visa you hold. Finnish nationals can visit the UK for up to 6 months without a visa. Work visas last up to 5 years and provide a route to permanent settlement. Student visas typically last for the duration of the course, but holders can then apply for a Graduate visa to stay in the UK for a further 2 years to find work.

What is the cost of living in the UK?

Please see the cost of living section above.

Moving Back to the UK from Finland: Why are British ex-pats leaving Finland?

Some UK nationals are moving back to the UK from countries within the EU, including Finland, as a result of the UK’s departure from the EU and the end of UK/EU free movement. Due to Brexit, UK nationals are now restricted to the number of days (90 days in every 180 days) they can spend in the EU.

A Y & J Solicitors is a specialist immigration law firm with extensive experience with all types of visa applications. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results-focused. For assistance with your visa application or any other UK immigration law concerns, please contact us on +44 20 7404 7933 or at contact us today. We’re here to help!

Moving From Finland to the UK

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Moving From Finland to the UK

Reach out to our immigration advisors to handle your relocation process from beginning to end.

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