City as a Service: Helsinki Offers Free Relocation Package to Top Tech Talent

Helsinki is looking for tech talent. How would you like to relocate to one of the tech hubs in the Nordics?
Susan Fourtané
Market Square (Kauppatori) at the Old Town pier in Helsinki, Finlandscanrail/iStock 

Are you a software engineer? A field application engineer? A coder? A developer? Perhaps an Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Machine Learning, or Big Data expert? Helsinki is looking for top tech talent and you might just want to apply. Before you do, I walk you through some facts that make Finland one of the best options for tech talent to grow and thrive if you are serious about relocating. Work-life balance is paramount in Finland. You could even bring your family if you have one. 

Free 90-day Helsinki relocation package: Becoming a Finn for 90 days

Helsinki Business Hub (HBH) is offering a limited-time free 90-day Helsinki relocation package to tech talent wishing to relocate with their family to the capital of Finland. 

Helsinki Business Hub will provide the selected applicants with a free 90-day relocation package for the entire family during which you can have a taste of how it is like to live and work in Helsinki. The applicants should be willing to relocate in February 2021 as well as being able to stay in Finland for 90 days. You can find the application form here. 

City as a Service (CaaS): Living in Helsinki for 90 days  

helsinki-vantaa airport, photo by susan fourtané
Moi, Helsinki! Helsinki-Vantaa airport. Source: Susan Fourtané 

According to Helsinki Business Hub, City as a Service (CaaS) is an all-inclusive service bundle that unlocks the entire city, built to help international talent feel at home in Helsinki.

Helsinki Business Hub will provide selected applicants with a free 90-day relocation package for the entire family. They are happy to arrange your housing, daycare, schooling, everything you need --the real deal, just like a Finn, they say. 

In contrast to Golden Visa programs, no charges or investments are required from the applicants. "We’re not after your money but all about lasting relationships. The real question is: Are you up to try a life that is utopia to many, reality for Finns?"

The one-of-its-kind offer includes a free 90-day relocation package to Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, known as the Princess of the Baltic. The package promises to provide everything you can possibly need: From official documentation to help finding housing, daycare for the little ones (yes, they are invited, too), schools where your children can benefit from Finland's top education in addition to free public healthcare.

The Helsinki free 90-day relocation package also includes in-person introductions to local technology hubs as well as business networks to help you get settled quickly.

Helsinki Relocation Package: City as a Service includes: 

  • All the documentation needed for a 90-day stay

  • Airport pickup and orientation services to get settled and up to speed

  • Housing arrangements to find a place that is just right for you and your family

  • School/daycare arrangements for children (daycare is cheap, school is free)

  • Top-notch facilities for efficient remote work and study

  • Relocation consultation during the whole stay

  • In-person introductions to technology hubs and business networks in the Helsinki region

  • Get-togethers and Finnish experiences during the 90 days (nature experience, sauna experience, culture experience)

  • Support to apply for permanent residency and everything needed for a longer stay – we bet this will come in handy!

Applicants can apply during November and until December 10. Helsinki Business Hub goes through the applications during the campaign time and can make the decision already earlier than 10 December, 2020.

In the decision, Helsinki Business Hub is primarily prioritizing U.S. citizens, however, it does not limit the applicants to only U.S. citizens. Within the U.S., the campaign is primarily targeted to top talent in the U.S. West Coast.

Participants will be working for their existing positions from Finland, so people who are able to work remotely or have their own company are prioritized.

Helsinki Business Hub will choose a maximum of 15 participants. The chosen participants and non-elected applicants are informed during December 2020, and they will be interviewed. The 90-day stay will take place ideally starting from February 2021, but minor timetable changes are possible depending on the chosen participants’ situation.

Helsinki Business Hub makes clear that participants are responsible for the travel expenses to Finland, and for any insurance the participants are willing to take. They are also responsible for the living costs, and all other personal expenses during their stay in Finland.

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, chosen participants will obey the quarantine and other travel conditions which are currently in place in Finland.

Here you can read more about the full criteria, terms, and conditions. 

Finland: Clean, beautiful, safe, and environmentally friendly 

Oulu wooden houses
Wooden houses in winter in the City of Oulu in the north of Finland. Source: Visit Finland

Everything is in the eye-of-the-beholder. Yet, anyone who has been to Finland will agree that each of the four seasons in Finland have their own beauty and each one is special in its own right. Yes, Finland is cold in winter. And it is beautiful and sunny 24/7 in summer.

The midnight sun in summer and the Nordic lights in winter are the starts of each season. It is cold in winter, right. But unlike many other countries, winter in Finland is something that happens only outdoors, never indoors; not even in public transport where heating keeps you comfortable during your journey. I have been colder in winter in Spain or England than outdoors in the Finnish winter. Comfort does not equal luxury in Finland. It means you need to be comfortable to perform at your best.  

Helsinki is surrounded by beautiful nature. You can get to Nuuksio National Park from central Helsinki in an hour on public transport. There are many islands that are easily reached via ferry such as the beautiful island of Suomenlinna, which is reached in about 15 minutes. Some other closest islands can be reached in just three minutes.

Tech Startups, tech entrepreneurs, and next level investors have a place in Helsinki 

helsinki maria01 startup campus
Helsinki's Maria01 startup campus concept: A mini-city within the city, housing tech startups, tech entrepreneurs, and next-level investors. Source: AOR Architects 

Finland has a huge potential to become one of the world's leaders in Artificial Intelligence. Hiring the best talent becomes essential. A Nordic country located in Northern Europe, Finland shares borders with Sweden, Norway, and Russia, and Estonia is its neighbor in the south, across the Baltic Sea. 

Finland has always been technologically advanced. Being the home of tech giant Nokia, a company that is a national icon as an example of a Finnish phoenix, and what it means to have Sisu, one cannot expect otherwise. Yes, it's true, everyone in Finland loves Nokia.

Despite being a small nation, Finland's innovation in the tech sector, as well as its vision into the future, is well known. And everything revolves around Sisu. Just ask Peter Vesterbacka, entrepreneur, Angel investor, and one of the most influential people on the planet, according to Time magazine, who went from being one of the founders of startup tech event and platform Slush to being the former Mighty Eagle and founder at Rovio's Angry Birds to being the engine of an ambitious project: Building a subaquatic tunnel between Helsinki and Tallinn by 2024. 

You will soon learn how important it is in Finland to have a good work-life balance in order to help the company succeed. It means your 9AM to 5PM or your 5PM to 9PM, whatever you may choose as your working hours will be just that. In Finland, you can choose either one, or take them both. 

Helsinki is proud to have one of the best work-life balance in the world. Working is pretty great in Finland but enjoying life is much better. Successful companies such as Angry Birds, --the mobile games company-- and many others were created in a very relaxed environment

Relocating to Finland can be the most exciting adventure you have experienced in your life. It all depends on your expectations and how willing you are to dig into the true nature of Finland and the Finns; that is to immerse yourself into rituals such as going to weekly sauna, jumping into a frozen lake afterwards, and back to sauna again to enjoy a cold drink and a special sausage --there is a vegetarian version-- cooked inside the sauna. Living in Finland is unlike anything you have experienced before. 

Living in Helsinki  

Helsinki, and Finland for that matter, never get too much attention in the news. There is a good reason for that in a world mostly hungry for sensationalism and conflict-based news. The small Nordic nation is not high in crime or corruption. Finland has a stable government and is not at war with any other nation in the world.

Finland is a peaceful land which has been voted again one of the happiest countries in the world; and yes, Finland is a happy land where some people can find happiness and their own chosen place to live on this planet. 

  • Finland has been voted the best country for expat families for the fourth year in a row. Finland has the most advanced digital economies in the EU. Finland has one the best education system in the world

  • Helsinki ranks fourth as emerging startup ecosystem globally 

  • Helsinki has been ranked number one as the most innovative ecosystem in the world

  • Finland has one of the best education systems in the world

  • Finland ranks number one as the best digital public service 

  • Helsinki ranks first for work-life balance 

  • Finland in one of the three least corrupt countries in the world

  • Finland is attracting the most VC investment in Europe

  • Finland ranks first as environmentally healthy country in the world

Why is Helsinki offering this free 90-day relocation package opportunity? Good question! 

parliament of Finland
Parliament of Finland and National Museum in the background. Source: benedek/iStock

An aging population in a small country might be a good answer. As of 2020, the population in Finland is 5.528.737. Technology talent is welcome to upgrade their studies and contribute to building the future of the Finnish nation. 

"Finnish universities are world-renowned. A number of students from outside the EU/EEA area receive first-class education in Finland. We would like them to stay in Finland after their degree," Arto Olavi Satonen, a Member of the Finnish Parliament wrote for MP Talk, a Helsinki Times column in which rotating Members of the Finnish Parliament contribute their thoughts and opinions. 

Satonen's party, the National Coalition Party, proposes that all foreign students be awarded a permanent residence permit. "We further suggest that after they have gotten employed, the foreign students may receive tax cuts to compensate for their tuition fees," wrote Arto Olavi Satonen 

Arto Satonen believes that "it is of utmost importance that Finland has a migration policy which makes Finland an attractive place to study, work, and live. This is a common issue, where everyone comes out as a winner if done correctly."

Helsinki is more than cold winters and bright summer nights ... but, is it for you?

sunset over a Finnish lake
Respecting nature is an integral part of the Finnish culture. Here, sunset over a Finnish lake. The whooper swan is the national bird of Finland, featured on the Finnish one Euro coin. Source: Marco_Piunti/iStock

Finland is the land of lakes, sauna, and sisu. It is known for being a society where everything just simply works and works well. Helsinki is one of the top European tech hubs. Helsinki has been ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the world. 

If you decide to give Finland and Helsinki a try and apply to this unique opportunity, I wish you good luck. If you make it, you might love it! If you are not yet convinced, no problem. It only means more space in Finland for the rest of us who love it. Finding the perfect place for us is something individual and personal. There is no one magic formula that works the same for everyone.

Above all, be informed on the destination before applying to a relocation package. Basically, do your research before relocating to any other city or country. Always remember that happiness is reality minus expectations. 

One of the questions about Finland is always about the climate. If you wonder about the climate in Finland, I would say it is one of hope and peace. Anything else is unimportant, considering the conflicts in some other nations. However, we all have a different opinion about this. Your is the one that only matters.

Yet, remember, the climate of a country cannot be changed, and a country is not to be blamed for its climate. If cold, white snowy winters, --with the exception of November which is slushy and miserable-- Northern Lights, and the bright midnight sun in the summer time is not your cup of tea, perhaps you'd better pass on this opportunity.  

But if you want to learn more about Finland and Helsinki and its tech-startup scene, have a look at the especially curated articles here below. 

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