Finland – COVID-19: Travel Restrictions on Finland’s Borders Extended
FI – Extending Restrictions at Finland’s Borders
The Finnish government has decided to further extend the current restrictions on entry into Finland. The current restrictions will remain in force until 18 March. Also, amendments to the Communicable Diseases Act have now entered into force, providing the Finnish local and regional authorities additional means to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
On 18 February 2021, the Finnish government decided to further extend the current restrictions on entry into Finland1. The current restrictions will remain in force until 18 March (for prior coverage, see GMS Flash Alert 2021-042, 28 January 2021).
The government has not made any significant changes to the previous restrictions. The same restrictions remain in force, meaning that only essential travel for work is permitted between Finland and other Schengen countries, except for Iceland. Essential travel constitutes work that is important for the functioning of society or for security of supply, that must be performed by a person or persons arriving from another country, and that must be carried out without delay.2
In addition, amendments to the Communicable Diseases Act have now entered into force, providing the Finnish local and regional authorities additional means to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
WHY THIS MATTERS
The extended restrictions continue to limit work-related entry from the Schengen Area into Finland. Employers may need to postpone the commencement of their employee’s assignment, or consider applying for the special group application3, if applicable.
For prior coverage of the current restrictions, which have now been extended until 18 March, including the restrictions on entry from the Schengen Area, please see GMS Flash Alert 2021-042.
The entry of residents of Australia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and New Zealand into Finland, when arriving from these countries via a direct flight, is unrestricted while taking into account provisions on the entry of foreign nationals into Finland. The same applies to travel between Finland and The Vatican.
Return travel by Finnish residents to Finland continues to remain permitted. Third-country nationals holding valid Finnish residence permits may also continue to arrive in Finland. 4
Amendments to Communicable Diseases Act Approved
The amendments to the Communicable Diseases Act entered into force on 22 February 20215, and they strengthen the possibilities of the local and regional authorities to take proactive and swift measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Under the amended Act, the authorities may introduce regional restrictions on business and leisure activities when it is deemed necessary to prevent the spread of the epidemic. The amended Act will also give the authorities the possibility to restrict the number of passengers on public transport.6
The amendments to the Communicable Diseases Act could make it easier to introduce compulsory COVID-19 testing of all passengers arriving in Finland at the border-crossing points in future. Under the current measures, testing is carried out at the border-crossing points mainly on a voluntary basis (for prior coverage, see the following issues of GMS Flash Alert: 2020-403 (17 September 2020) and 2020-379 (1 September 2020) and 2020-357 (18 August 2020)).
The KPMG International member firm in Finland continues to monitor these matters closely, and further information is expected to be received in the forthcoming weeks as the authorities are likely to further clarify their plans regarding introducing compulsory COVID-19 testing of all passengers arriving in Finland.
1 See (in English) “Restrictions on entry into Finland extended until 18 March.”
3 For more information about Special Group Application, see (in English) “Guidelines for Border Traffic during Pandemic.”
4 See (in English) “Guidelines for Border Traffic during Pandemic.”
5 See (in English) “Amendments to Communicable Diseases Act approved – regional authorities to have more means to curb COVID-19.” For the text of the Act (“Laki: tartuntatautilain muuttamisesta ja väliaikaisesta muuttamisesta“ in Finnish) click here.
* Please note that KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not offer immigration services or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Finland.
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