Remote work abroad as an entrepreneur – what should be taken into account?

Can a Finnish entrepreneur work abroad and be insured with YEL insurance? We compiled answers to the most frequently asked questions about entrepreneurship abroad.

As the days grow shorter and the evenings darken, escaping the darkness of autumn begins to sound even more tempting. Because of the corona pandemic, remote work has become more common for employees and entrepreneurs alike, and work is no longer necessarily tied to a specific time or place. Many people dream of a free life as a digital nomad, the hustle and bustle of European metropolises, or a few weeks in the sun in the middle of winter. But can an entrepreneur move abroad and accrue pension in Finland? We answer the most frequently asked questions about being self-employed abroad and YEL insurance.

As an entrepreneur, can I work remotely from abroad for clients in Finland?

Occasional remote work abroad is possible for an entrepreneur in the same way as for the employee when the entrepreneur's permanent place of residence is in Finland.

Does a Finnish entrepreneur pay YEL insurance contributions to Finland, even if the entrepreneur's home is abroad?

No, usually not. The decisive factor is whether the move abroad is permanent or temporary. As a rule, the entrepreneur is covered by the social security system of the country of work. The Self-Employed Persons' Pension Act requires that the entrepreneur live in Finland and carry out entrepreneurial activities here. If the move abroad is permanent and the residence requirement is no longer met, the entrepreneurial activity will no longer be subject to the YEL and the entrepreneur will be covered by the social security system of the country of work, i.e. he or she will pay statutory social security contributions there.

My spouse will be posted abroad for two years, and I am going to join him or her while continuing my entrepreneurial activities in Finland. The move is temporary – do I pay YEL insurance contributions to Finland, or am I covered by the social security system of the country where I work?

Working abroad temporarily is an exception to the rule, as YEL insurance may remain valid to a limited extent for an entrepreneur covered by Finnish social security. The duration of your entrepreneurial activities before moving abroad and the country you are moving to will both have an impact. Read more about working abroad temporarily as a self-employed person.

Where can I get advice if I am not sure which country's social security system I belong to?

The situations are diverse, and Varma's international services can advise you when you are planning to move or work abroad. Contact us by sending a message in Varma Online Service or by phone at 010 192 191.

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