Finland takes great pride in its governance, equality and general state of wellbeing. Finland repeatedly ranks high in global comparisons for low levels of corruption, freedom of speech and equality across all citizens.
As a society, Finland and Finns are honest, law-abiding and hardworking people who greatly value equality and safety. Thanks to universal education and equal opportunities, there is very little separation between people from different social standings. Finns love the nature, like to travel and appreciate friends and family. While it might take a while for a Finn to get to know his or her next-door neighbour, the best way to make acquaintances is to ask for help – Finns are always ready to lend a hand even to a stranger.
Finland’s history is often characterized by its relationship with neighboring Russia. Following Finland’s independence in 1917, the nation has gone through a transformation from a rural, agriculture-driven country to an urban, high-technology nation.
Foreigners living in Finland have nearly the same rights and obligations as Finnish citizens. For example, non-Finns can use the same social and health services such as Finnish citizens. Also, non-Finnish residents can vote for electing their municipal representatives.
Below we have collected a list that explains the basic structures and most important instances in this country
NOTE: In case of an emergency, such as a car crash or an injury where professional aid is immediately required, call 112 on your telephone. 112 is the first aid emergency number valid throughout Finland. Click here for more details on Finland’s and Tampere region’s the emergency services.
Read more about health from the Infopankki website by clicking here
The Finnish Immigration Service is part of the Ministry of the Interior. Applications for residence permits, asylum and Finnish citizenship are handled by the Finnish Immigration Service.
Local register offices are local state administrative authorities. They record the population information of their own area into the population register. City of Tampere also runs a Migration Info Center that provides multilingual information and guidance services.
Police of Finland is a government agency responsible for general police and law enforcement matters in Finland. The duties include ensuring order and safety in the society as well as preventing and solving crimes. The police grants passports to Finnish citizens and identity cards to foreign nationals. If you want to apply for an ID or consult the police, visit their online service for making appointments.
Employment and Economic Development Offices are part of the employment and economic development administration. The services include employment exchange, labour market training, entrepreneur services and career guidance.
Read more about the important authorities from the Infopankki website.
Finland is a constitutional republic where the power belongs to the citizens. The 200-member parliament, elected every four years, passes the laws and supervises the work of the Government, which is the highest executive body.
Finland’s Head of State, the President of the Republic of Finland, is appointed by a general election for a term of six years. The President ratifies laws, appoints the highest officials, conducts Finland’s foreign policy and acts as Supreme Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces.
On a local level, Finnish municipalities take care of local administration and act as the fundamental, self-governing administrative units of the country. Municipalities provide roughly two thirds of public services and they have the right to levy a flat percentual income tax (between 16 and 22 percent). Municipalities control and run many community services, such as health care, schools, the water supply, and local streets.
Municipalities are run by a municipal council, selected through a municipal election every four years. The council then elects and appoints a board who prepares and implements council decisions.
To get a better picture about Finnish administration, visit the Infopankki website.
As a rule, all Finnish citizens at least 18 of age have the right to vote in the elections. However, non-Finnish persons who reside in Finland can also vote in the municipal elections and the European Parliament elections.
The members of the municipal council are elected through the municipal election, held every four years. To vote, you must have resided in the municipality for at least 51 days before the election. You must also be a EU citizen or have resided in Finland for at least two years before the election.
The European Parliament represents all the EU member states. Every five years, 13 Finnish representatives are elected to the parliament by the people. To vote in the elections, you must be 18 years of age and have resided in a Finnish municipality for at least 51 days prior the elections. In addition, you must be registered in the Finnish voting register, as you can vote only in a single EU member state in the same elections.
For more information on qualifying as a voter and the actual election proceedings, visit the Infopankki website.
Everyone residing in Finland has statutory rights and obligations. Foreigners living in Finland have nearly the same rights and obligations as Finnish citizens. Read more about what rights and obligations also apply to foreigners living in Finland.
According to Finnish law, men and women have the equal rights. That means that everyone has the right to equal treatment. No-one must be treated differently based on gender, age, religion or handicap, for example. Discrimination is a crime in Finland. Read more about what equality and non-discrimination means in the Finnish society.
Equality is enforced by, for example, allowing both parents to have childcare leave after a child is born.
The Social Insurance Institution of Finland, known as Kela, provides financial support in various situations in life, usually when your income level is low. Benefits include e.g. income support and student benefits. Non-Finnish immigrants may also be eligible for benefits.
For more information, see the Infopankki page on Finnish social security for immigrants. See also Kela’s instructions on social security for people moving to Finland and the Moving to and from Finland guide. Additional information on moving to Finland from a social security perspective is available on the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health website. Note that you must separately apply to be covered by Finnish social security.
If you run into acute problems such as abuse or child protection, you can contact the social welfare office. Social welserve municipal residents in difficult life situations such as in abuse problems and in child protection issues. Read more about social services in Finland.
Persons who are residents of a Finnish municipality (i.e., have a place of domicile in Finland) are entitled to treatment in the the Finnish public healthcare system. For most employees in a Finland-based company, specific occupational health care services are organized by your employer.
In Tampere, if you need acute health services, call 0310023 for information and advice or to book an appointment with a nurse or a doctor. You can also directly visit First Aid Unit Acuta. For more information on how local health care is organized, see the health services in Tampere info page. For dental care, see this page.
Also, check with your employer about the occupational health care services that are available for you.