Family issues

Living in Europe | Day care, schooling & family related issues | Finland

If you are moving to Finland with your spouse/partner and family, it is important to carefully consider the practical arrangements for the family members, so that they would also have a fulfilling and productive stay in Finland. The following information is intended to help make the transition to Finland as smooth as possible for new staff members and their families.

The term family member refers to

  • married spouse

  • registered partner

  • cohabiting partner

  • guardian of a child under 18 years of age

  • child

A broader definition is applicable for family members of EU citizens.

 

Registering family members

In order to register your family members with the Finnish authorities, you will need to provide legalized and translated documents of your marriage certificate and birth certificates for children.

More information:

Maistraatti - Place of domicile and population data

 

Social benefits for family members

Families are supported in Finland through various forms of services and income transfers. The Municipality of Residence (kotikuntaoikeus / hemorträtt) gives access to municipal services, such as health services. Most social security benefits are provided by Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. Eligibility for Finnish social security benefits is based on residence in Finland. If you intend to move to Finland permanently, you will normally be covered by the Finnish social security system and will qualify for Kela benefits as soon as you move to Finland.

More information:

Kela - For Families

Home Municipality in Finland

 

Education and day care

Day care

Day care offers an environment where the child is able to play, learn and participate in everyday routines. The premises, equipment and materials of day care are tailored to suit the age and needs of the child. An early childhood education plan is the guideline all municipal and private day care centres and family day care centres follow.The following day care alternatives are available:

  • Municipal day care centre
  • Private day care centre
  • Family day care or three family day care
  • Play club activities

A day care place for a child can be applied for at anytime of the year. Applications should be submitted four months before the desired start of the day care. Contact information of day care centres, application forms and fee calculators are available on the web-sites of municipalities in Finland.

Pre-School

Pre-school education is aimed for children one year before compulsory school education starts. Pre-school education is free of charge. Children who will turn 7 the year are enrolled for compulsory education. The objective of pre-school education is to support the child's preparedness for school and to practice the basic knowledge and skills that he/she will need at school.

Basic education, grades 1 - 9

If you are moving to Finland with school-aged (7-16) children, education is compulsory for them. Comprehensive education begins during the year when the child turns seven and ends when all courses have been completed, or 10 years have elapsed from the beginning of the compulsory education. Lower stage comprehensive school takes six years, grades 1-6, and upper stage comprehensive school comprises years 7-9. Basic education including textbooks, tools etc. is free of charge. In addition, pupils are offered a free daily meal.

The child is usually allocated a place in a school near where you live or in some other suitable place, which makes school travel as short and safe as possible. The local authorities have a statutory duty to provide education for children of compulsory school age living in their areas. The parent(s) can also, for a justified reason, apply for a place in a school other than the child's nearest school. If there are more applicants than available places, certain qualification criteria will be applied. Please note that in this case the parent(s) are responsible for covering any possible school transportation costs.

Typically, a child needs to be enrolled to start school (first graders) in late January or early February. If your child is at a higher grade or you move to Finland during the school year, please contact the education department in your city.

Schools up to university level are almost exclusively funded and administered by the municipalities in Finland. There are few private schools. Public schools are uniformly of a high quality. The local or school curriculum is based on a national core curriculum. As a rule, all teachers have a Master's level university degree. There is, however, relatively little extracurricular activity, and children's free-time activities are often quite separate from those during the school day.

The school year begins in mid-August and ends in late May or early June. The school year is interrupted by several vacations: Fall break (sometime in October), Christmas vacation, winter vacation and Easter break. Students attend school Monday through Friday.

 

Pregnancy

When you become pregnant you should contact your nearest Maternity Clinic/ Prenatal Clinic (äitiysneuvola). Each family has a personal nurse and all the discussions with the nurse are confidential. Maternity Clinics focus on the health and wellbeing of the expectant mother, the baby and the family, and help the expectant mother and father to get prepared for parenthood. Dads are welcome to attend each appointment at the Maternity Clinic. Services of the Maternity Clinic are free of charge for those who have a municipality of residence (kotikunta) in Finland.

Child health care

When the baby is born, the local Child Health Centre (lastenneuvola) monitors the child's development and growth as well as vaccinates the child in accordance with the National Vaccination Programme from the birth until the school age. The families are given individual support in the child's upbringing and nurture. All conversations are confidential. Services of Child Health Clinics are free of charge for all residents in Finland.

More information:

 

Employment opportunities for accompanying spouses

Citizens of the EU member states can work without any working permits. If you come from a non-EU country and have been granted a residence permit on the basis of family ties you will have an unlimited right to work in Finland. The right to work will also be entered on your residence permit card.

For vacancies:

For general information on working in Finland: