Tuesday, 19 February, 2019

Majority foreign workers to come during berry season

6500 seasonal workers granted permits in H1

04 Jul 2018, 00:41 ( 7 Months ago) | updated: 04 Jul 2018, 10:36 ( 7 Months ago)

DF Report
Photo Visit Finland by Harri Tarvainen.

The Finnish authorities had granted permits to 6,500 seasonal foreign workers from the beginning of January to the end of June this year, said a press release issued by the Finnish Immigration Services on Tuesday.

Most of the foreign workers are intended to work in the berry sector and other agriculture farms.

Among the applications, the majority were for seasonal work certificates intended for short-term work.

Seasonal workers who come to Finland from visa-free countries to work for less than three months can apply for this certificate.

A total of 5,824 seasonal work certificates were granted. The largest groups among the seasonal workers are Ukrainian and Russian citizens.

“Applications were submitted for work all across Finland but our estimation is that most seasonal workers have come to work in Southwest Finland, Ostrobothnia and Savo,” said Immigration Unit Director Tiina Suominen.

Seasonal workers who stay in Finland for longer than three months have to apply for a residence permit for seasonal work.

Nearly 450 residence permits for seasonal work were granted for work lasting from three to six months, and approximately 180 for work lasting longer than six months. The maximum length of seasonal work is nine months.

Those who come from countries whose citizens are required to have a visa have to apply for a seasonal work visa at a Finnish mission abroad.

One of the issues raised in the media is that persons applying for seasonal work have to be given the exact start and end dates of their employment even though some seasonal workers already apply for their permits at the beginning of the year.

“The terms and conditions of employment and the minimum wage are determined in the Seasonal Workers Act. It is important to see that the usual terms of employment apply to seasonal workers,” said Suominen.

According to law, seasonal workers must be guaranteed the minimum wage. The salary has to be at least the minimum specified in the relevant collective agreement.

If there is no collective agreement, the gross salary must be at least EUR 1,189 per month.

If the worker is employed on more than one farm, several employers can be listed on the application.  This way, it will not be necessary to apply for a new permit during the summer season.

The next season for seasonal workers is already coming up in the autumn, when the number of seasonal work permits is expected to increase because the arrival of workers for e.g. fur farms and tourism.