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Working abroad on a grant or scholarship

Mela issues insurance for working abroad on a grant or scholarship as long as you are covered by Finnish social security.

Before travelling abroad to work on a grant or scholarship, check whether you will be covered by Finnish social security during the period you will be living and working outside of Finland. Mela issues insurance for working abroad on a grant or scholarship as long as you are covered by Finnish social security.

The decision to remain within or leave the Finnish social security system is always comprehensive. You cannot obtain pension insurance in Finland unless you are covered by general social security, and if you give up your entitlement to pension insurance, you also give up your right to any other Finnish social security benefits. The entitlement to Finnish social security is also a prerequisite for obtaining many types of travel insurance in Finland.

Your inclusion in the Finnish social security system depends on the following factors:

  • The duration of your work abroad
  • The country in which you will be working
  • Social security agreements that may exist between the two countries
  • Other sources of income

The decision about your inclusion in the Finnish social security system is made by either the Finnish Centre for Pensions or Kela, depending on the country in which you will be working and the duration of the work. We recommend that you submit your social security application at the same time that you submit your insurance application to Mela.

Working in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland
  • Within the EU/EEA, which also includes Switzerland, the principal rule is that you are insured in accordance with the legislation of the country in which you are carrying out the actual work
  • However, if you wish to remain covered by the Finnish social security system and your work abroad lasts more than one month, you can apply for an A1 certificate from the Finnish Centre for Pensions.
  • Work lasting less than one month can be considered a business trip, in which case it is not necessary to apply for an A1 certificate.
  • If you receive an affirmative decision, you are entitled to Finnish pension insurance, as well as to Kela benefits that are payable within the EU/EEA.
Working in countries with which Finland has a social security agreement
  • Finland has signed bilateral agreements on the application of social security legislation with the following countries:
    • United States
    • Canada
    • Quebec
    • Chile
    • Israel
    • India
    • China
    • South Korea
    • Australia
  • If you plan to work on a grant or scholarship in any of these countries (with the exception of Australia) and your work abroad lasts more than one month, you can apply for an A1 certificate from the Finnish Centre for Pensions.
  • Work lasting less than one month can be considered a business trip, in which case it is not necessary to apply for an A1 certificate.
  • Finland’s bilateral social security agreement with Australia does not cover those working on a grant or scholarship. If you plan on working in Australia, read more: Working in other countries.
  • If you receive an affirmative decision, you are entitled to Finnish pension insurance, as well as to Kela benefits that are payable within the EU/EEA.
Working in other countries or Australia
  • If you plan to work on a grant somewhere other than within the EU/EEA, Switzerland or a country with which Finland has a social security agreement, your obligation to remain covered by the MYEL insurance will remain for a maximum of 5 years, provided that the insurance conditions are met.
  • You should always inform Kela about working abroad.

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