Asylum seekers’ right to work will be extended by a temporary amendment to the Aliens Act. The government submitted the bill amending the Aliens Act for approval on Thursday 25 June. The President of the Republic is expected to approve the bill on Friday and the Act will enter into force on 29 June.
The legislative amendment will temporarily abolish the three-month and six-month waiting periods for asylum seekers for taking up employment. As soon as the Act enters into force, asylum seekers will have the right to work in agriculture, forestry, horticulture and fisheries.
"This will help alleviate the situation where a shortage of seasonal employees from abroad is likely this year in Finland. The Act will remain in force until 31 October 2020," the Ministry of the Interior said.
The abolishment of the waiting periods will apply to asylum seekers who are waiting for a decision concerning international protection either from the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) or from an administrative court at the time of the entry into force of the temporary act. Under the amendment, the time left in the waiting period will be set aside for those asylum seekers where the three- to six-month waiting period for their applications has not yet expired.
In case of negative decisions
In addition, asylum seekers can temporarily continue working longer than at present in agriculture, forestry, horticulture and fisheries. If they receive a negative asylum decision and the removal decision concerning them becomes enforceable, they may continue working while they are in the country due to emergency conditions and receive reception services.
Government says that the entry of foreign labour has decreased significantly due to the travel restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. "This makes it challenging to find a sufficient number of workers, especially seasonal workers."
"For this reason, we also need to find ways to employ a range of domestic and foreign workers who are already in Finland for critical tasks," the Ministry of the Interior explains.