If you want to seek employment abroad…
… avoid any surprises and read this blog through. It will guide you with simple steps, what you need to know when planning a job-seeking trip to another EU/EEA country (or Switzerland). Let us begin with a short info, what this trip is all about.
Free movement of work and workers inside the EU zone has been emphasized in the agenda of the European Union for a long time. The purpose is to enable employment where it is in supply to where it is needed, and correspondingly to provide skilled workforce to employers all around the EU zone. One of the measures has been to offer unemployed jobseekers a chance to seek employment from another EU country while receiving unemployment benefit from the country of departure. A job-seeking trip can also take place in the EEA-countries that are Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, as well as in Switzerland in accordance with a bilateral agreement.
If you are unemployed and a member of an unemployment fund, you have the right to apply for the earnings-related allowance for up to three months when seeking employment abroad. Take into account that if you resign from work and the TE Office will set a suspension period of three months, the daily allowance cannot be paid even if you are entitled to seek employment from another EU country. Obviously, it is also required that you are otherwise entitled to the daily allowance as if you were an unemployed jobseeker in Finland.
What must I do before the job-seeking trip?
Firstly, contact the TE Office and check whether you are eligible to seek employment abroad. As a rule, TE Office will require a four weeks unemployed period before you can embark on a job-seeking trip. However, some exceptions may apply. For instance, if you have an appointment for a job interview in the destination country, TE Office may shorten the required period. Check the exceptions from the TE Office, which makes the decision in the case.
If the TE Office gives you the green light, contact our foreign affairs unit by phone +358 20 690 455 (dial 3). Be prepared to answer to the following questions: have you already contacted the TE Office? To which country are you planning the job-seeking trip and when? The exact departure date will also be asked, that is, for which date you have booked the flight.
The unemployment fund will issue a PD U2 form, which you must present to the officials of the target country. Note that we cannot issue the PD U2 before the TE Office has officially notified us of the job-seeking trip. TE Office will send the notification electronically and usually the transfer takes one working day.
The early bird gets the worm, so contact us as soon as you have planned the trip. Note that the PD U2 will be sent to you by mail. Officials in some EU/EEA countries (and let us not forget about Switzerland) may require the original, paper version of the PD U2 form.
Official of the target country
It is recommended to seek out the nearest labor office in the target country and its opening hours in advance, and as the first act to register yourself there with the PD U2 in your hand. Remember to do this within seven days of your arrival to the country. Take into account that the labor office may not be open on weekends or on midweek holidays; there may be several national holidays that are not celebrated in Finland! If you have not visited the labor office within seven days, the daily allowance can be paid starting from that day when you have registered yourself.
After the registration, the officials of the target country will send a SED U009 form to the unemployment fund by mail. Note that the daily allowance cannot be paid before the form has arrived to the unemployment fund.
What must I do during the job-seeking trip and after it?
Daily allowance applications can be sent to the unemployment fund as usual. You can use our eService when filling in the follow-up applications.
Work starts in the target country
If you have found a job, congratulations!
When you have started a job, the daily allowance applications are processed in the same manner during the job-seeking trip as if you were residing in Finland.
For instance, if your work is part-time, adjusted daily allowance can be paid. You must send us a copy of the employment contract and pay slips for the application period as attachments. If you are working full-time and the work started either during or after the trip, contact us and we will examine whether it is necessary to maintain the membership in the union and the unemployment fund.
Return to Finland
If you were not able to find a job and you will return to Finland, no worries. First thing you need to do is to register yourself with the TE Office as an unemployed jobseeker, but not later than three months from the start of your trip.
If you manage to register on time, we can continue paying the daily allowance to you. Once again, all the other requirements must be met as usual. If you do not register on time, the daily allowance can be paid again when you have worked or participated in a TE Office approved training for four weeks.
These measures should get you started, but if you did not get the answers you needed, you can always contact us and our vigilant foreign affairs unit is more than happy to help you with any questions that might occupy your mind.
Best of luck in your job search!
Benefit Assessor, Foreign Affairs Unit