In the winter of 2020, professor Kaija-Leena Kolho from the Pediatric Research Centre of the University of Helsinki was approached by an Indian post-doctoral researcher Priyodip Paul. He had previously researched the metabolism and functions of microbiomes, and expressed an interest in working together on IBD research. In turn, Kaija-Leena approached us, because she knew that we were in need of more expertise in our research project on IBD diagnostics and treatment response monitoring, as well as in our effort to understand the metabolic mechanisms of diseases that are visible in biological samples.
As we were getting to know Priyodip through interviews, we gave him the nickname “Diippi”, because of his deep expertise in the field of microbiology. Our conversations eventually led to us signing an employment contract with him in May of 2020, and Priyodip eagerly awaited for his adventure in Finland to start. Unfortunately at the time the COVID-19 pandemic was at a point where the in-person identification required for a residence permit was not possible in India, because public offices were closed. We continued our conversations with Priyodip throughout the summer, while we waited for news about the progress of his residence permit process.
Finally at the end of September we got the news that Priyodip would be able to meet with the immigration officials on the 13th of October, and that after the meeting the process would move forward quickly. We were prepared to have to wait as long as until the beginning of 2021 before our new colleague could meet us in Finland, but before long we were met with a positive surprise – Priyodip would be able to get the required permits in just 2-3 weeks. It was wonderful seeing how efficient the Finnish officials could be, and how swiftly a Finnish company could gain important international expertise, even in the midst of a pandemic.
After the news that the required permits would be ready in just a few weeks, we started looking for an apartment and gathering all the other everyday necessities, and also agreed on Priyodip’s arrival date – the 13th of November. Arriving in Finland in the middle of November on one of the greyest days of the year must have been quite a shock for our Indian friend. Luckily we were able to make his arrival a little bit easier by arranging a taxi to take him from the airport to Turku, where a furnished apartment and a welcome package with some Finnish delicacies and hand-woven woolen socks waited for him. For light weekend reading, he received a comprehensive guide to the Finnish taxation system, provided by the Finnishl tax administration.
72 hours after he arrived in Finland Priyodip went to get a covid-test, and the negative result was ready in less than two days. After the required quarantine was thus completed, Priyodip could meet and get to know the rest of the team properly, and also take care of other practicalities, only five days after he arrived in Finland. We arranged a bank meeting for the 19th of November, and after Priyodip gets his Finnish bank identifiers, everything else, like ordering a tax card, will be possible. Priyodip had already received his Finnish identity code when he received his residence permit, which helped immensely in getting the official things sorted out. So in summary, all the necessities for working and living in Finland were ready in just six weeks after Priyodip met with the officials in India.
We were extremely impressed by how quickly and comfortably all the requirements for living and working in Finland were handled, and we want to thank all the parties who helped in getting Priyodip to Finland.