The Act on Unemployment Security will be amended on 1 January 2011 to provide a foreigner, who has been granted a fixed-term continuous residence permit (residence permit A), with the right to labour market support. This right will apply regardless of the reason for granting the residence permit, if other prerequisites for eligibility to unemployment benefit are met.
According to the current Act, valid until 31 December 2010, a prerequisite for a foreigner’s entitlement to labour market support is that residence permit A has been granted on the basis of family ties.
This reform renders a foreigner’s right to labour market support independent of the reason for being granted residence permit A. An A permit can have been granted, for instance on the basis of family ties, Finnish ancestry or international protection.
In addition, after this reform, persons with a residence permit A granted for a specific occupational sector, persons with a residence permit for a self-employed person granted on the basis of a reason other than exercising a profession, and researchers as referred to in the so-called Researcher Directive will be entitled to labour market support, provided that they fulfil the conditions for being granted unemployment benefit in other respects.
A foreigner’s right to receive daily unemployment benefit will not change: a person with a fixed-term temporary residence permit (residence permit B) will not be entitled to unemployment benefit in future either.
These amendments, which will enter into force on 1 January 2011, will be applied retrospectively from 10 May 2010. Retroactive application of the Act means that a foreigner, whose job application was valid on 10 May 2010 or thereafter, can become entitled to labour market support in arrears.
On their own initiative, TE Offices will issue retrospective competent labour policy statements to Kela on all job applicants of whom the TE Office is aware. TE Offices will inform job applicants of the amended statements during January–February 2011.
However, TE Offices are not necessarily aware of all jobseekers to whom this legal reform grants a retrospective right to labour market support. If jobseekers have not received notification of an amended statement from their TE Office by the end of February 2011, they should contact the TE Office themselves, in order to rectify the matter.
Moreover, as soon as possible, jobseekers should send Kela an application for labour market support, to be paid retrospectively.