Sunday. 22.09.2019
El tiempo

Nearly 7,000 Ukrainians about to invade Finnish farms and plantations

According to the Finnish Immigration Service, in 2019 the gross salary of a seasonal worker must be at least 1,211 euros per month.

Photo: Алексей Стовбер
Photo: Алексей Стовбер
Nearly 7,000 Ukrainians about to invade Finnish farms and plantations

The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) estimates that this summer "thousands of foreign workers will again be working on Finnish berry an vegetable plantations and farms".

In this case, the phrase "foreign workers" is equivalent to saying mainly Ukrainian temporary workers, since it is the people of this nationality who collect the vast majority of certificates for this type of work.

According to the latest figures published by Migri on a press release, 6,664 certificates for seasonal work have been issued this year (until May 16). Of them, 6,523 (or 97.88%) were granted to Ukrainian citizens. Last year, a total of 6,783 certificates for seasonal work were issued.

A certificate or a residence permit

The majority of the seasonal workers come to Finland for a short period or time during the summer, as explained by Migri in its release. Therefore, they apply for a certificate for seasonal work, with which Finnish Immigration authorities allow them to stay in the country for up to 90 days. Those whose work last longer than 3 months must apply for a seasonal worker's residence permit.

Anna Hyppönen, Head of the Immigration Unit's Employment Section, says that a large part of the requests for certificates for seasonal work has already been processed, if the number of applicants remains at the level of last year, as expected.

In addition to the certificates, 579 people have received a seasonal work permit for employment lasting 3-6 months. And other 353 residence permits have been granted for employment lasting 6-9 months.

"The largest number of applications is for picking garden berries" but "seasonal work is, of course, done in other sectors and throughout the year, such as in holiday resorts and on fur farms in the autumn", explains Hyppönen.

The Finnish Immigration Service also explains that today "the processing of seasonal work applications is well under way". "As last year, companies in the sector have employed seasonal workers, mainly from Ukraine".

Agriculture strawberry hand

Guidance in Ukrainian and Russian

A new act on seasonal work came into force last year and this new regulation changed the authorization practices. According to Hypponen, Migri has been able to prepare for the season more precisely and anticipate the number of applications "after gaining experience from the first year".

"Applying for a seasonal work permit was a new issue last year, and we received a lot of questions and feedback, from employers in particular. Based on this, we added guidance to our customers in Ukrainian and Russian this year, and we organised, for example, a webinar on seasonal work," says Hyppönen.

Migri explained that the questions asked by the employers often concern wages. The seasonal worker must be guaranteed payments in accordance with the generally applicable collective agreement in the sector. The subsistence of a seasonal worker must be secured by the income from the employment. In 2019, the gross salary of a seasonal worker must be at least 1,211 euros per month in order to ensure that the person is capable to pay for his needs while staying in Finland.

The processing of certificates for seasonal work has also been accelerated by the fact that more and more applications are submitted in the Enter Finland online service. "It is clearly the fastest way to apply. The processing of residence permits for seasonal work has lasted 1-2 months on average, and the shortest processing times for certificates for seasonal work have been a few days", says Hyppönen.

The branches for seasonal work

According to the information published on Migri’s customers bulletin, most of the seasonal workers come to Finland to work in the agricultural sector. However, the Finnish Government also admits seasonal workers for the touristic industry. The concrete activities opened for seasonal workers in agriculture are:

  • Crop and animal production and related service activities, excluding hunting and related service activities.
  • Forest cultivation and other forestry activities.

The branches of tourism in which seasonal workers are allowed to work are:

  • Accommodation and food service activities.
  • Ski resorts.
  • Tour operator activities.
  • Other reservation service and related activities, such as tour guide services.
  • Activities of amusement parks and theme parks.
  • Support activities to performing arts.
  • Coastal passenger water transport.
  • Inland passenger water transport.

If you want to apply for a seasonal work certificate electronically using the service of Enter Finland, you can do it by clicking HERE