Employers are obligated to verify whether a health care worker has the right to practise their profession. The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health, Valvira, grants rights to practice health care professions based on applications.

The procedure for recognising qualifications is different for those trained in an EU/EEA country versus those trained outside of the EU/EEA. The recognition of the qualifications of individuals from inside of the EU/EEA is governed by the EU Professional Qualifications Directive. For example, nurses’ and midwives’ qualifications have been harmonised across the EU.

However, not all professions have been harmonised this way, which is why Valvira cannot automatically grant an individual the right to practise their profession if they have been trained in another EU/EEA country. If an individual has been trained outside of the EU/EEA, Valvira will assess whether their training qualifies them for the same profession as the Finnish counterpart.

Valvira may require that a person applying for recognition of their qualifications

  • take an aptitude test or
  • undergo an adaptation period.

More information on Valvira's site


The purpose of the aptitude test

is to evaluate the applicant’s professional competence and ability to practise the profession in question in Finland. During an adaptation period, the applicants will practise their profession under the guidance and supervision of another professional, or the period may involve further training. Applicants themselves must find an appropriate workplace for the duration of their adaptation period.

Finding a job and a provider of further training for the adaptation period, as well as having the necessary funding for qualification training, may prove to be too challenging. In the social and health care sector, foreign qualifications must usually be complemented with training in drug treatment, social and health care legislation, knowledge of the service system in the sector and clinical care work. Additionally, employees must be able to use either Finnish or Swedish.

The biggest obstacle in recruiting foreign social and health care workers is the lack of a permanent pathway to recognising qualifications. Therefore, the promotion of international recruitment of social and health care staff cannot be based on individual projects; instead, a permanent solution is necessary to accelerate the recognition of qualifications, making it more straightforward.