The Act on Healthcare Professionals was updated in early 2016 – the changes now allow authorities to verify the language skills of almost all licensing applicants.
Healthcare professionals must have sufficient language skills to allow them to practice their profession in a safe manner. Finland’s official languages are Finnish and Swedish.
Following the changes to the act, Valvira can verify the language skills of all applicants, who have completed their degree or their professional qualification in a language other than Finnish or Swedish, or who have completed their so-called general studies (yleissivistävät opinnot) in another language. The changes will apply from 1 January 2016 onwards.
In practice, this means that applicants must include either the relevant degree certificates as detailed above or, alternatively, a Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate (satisfactory language skills) or a National Certificate of Language Proficiency (skill level 3 throughout), as part of their licensing application.
In addition, employers must always ensure that all staff they recruit have the necessary languages skills for their role.
The arrangements for verifying applicants’ language skills do not affect the process for recognising professional qualifications obtained in an EU/EEA member state, or the European Professional Card (EPC) scheme. However, all applicants should note that in order to practice their profession or use a protected professional title in Finland following the recognition of their professional qualifications, they must be able to demonstrate the necessary language skills. The recognition of professional qualifications and licensing will be conducted as two separate processes if the applicant chooses to demonstrate their language proficiency after their professional qualification has been recognised. Fees are payable for each application, as determined by the relevant Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Decree on Chargeable Services by the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira).
Valvira continues to require applicants from non-EU/EEA member states to provide proof of their language proficiency
If you would like to apply for the licensing to work in Finland as a healthcare professional and you are not an EU/EEA national, you must include in your licensing application proof that you have been awarded the Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate with a satisfactory mark or the National Certificate of Language Proficiency at Level 3–4.
Certificates demonstrating studies in Finnish and Swedish, including language courses, do not on their own constitute sufficient proof of your language ability. For further information on the language certificates, please visit the Finnish National Board of Education website (www.oph.fi).