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Russian invasion of Ukraine is visible on berry farms – exceptionally low number of applications from seasonal workers

Publication date 14.7.2022 10.53
Press release

This year, seasonal workers have submitted considerably fewer applications than last year. Every summer, thousands of foreign workers work on Finnish berry and vegetable plantations and farms. Many seasonal workers have come to Finland especially from Ukraine.

A total of 4,456 certificates for seasonal work have been issued this year, of which 4,242 to Ukrainian nationals. Last year, 13,870 certificates for seasonal work were issued, 13,287 of them to Ukrainians. Most certificates for seasonal work are issued every year during the spring and summer.

“The number of submitted applications has been less than one third compared to last year. The Russian invasion of Ukraine obviously affects the number of seasonal workers, since the majority of them are Ukrainians,” says Pauliina Helminen, Director of Permit and Nationality Unit.

Almost all requests for a certificate for seasonal work have been processed.

The majority of seasonal workers come to work in Finland for a short period in the summer. They apply for a certificate for seasonal work from the Finnish Immigration Service that can be used for 90 days in Finland. Those who work longer than this apply for a residence permit for seasonal work.

The number of residence permits for seasonal workers is also decreasing. A seasonal work permit for work lasting 3–6 months has been granted to 692 people between January and June (2021: 1,619). In addition, 262 permits have been granted for work for a duration of 6–9 months (2021: 403).

“Seasonal workers most commonly apply for a permit for picking cultivated berries. Of course, seasonal work is also carried out in other sectors and throughout the year, including holiday destinations and fur farms in the autumn,” says Helminen.

Persons who apply for or have been granted temporary protection can work freely in Finland

Finland grants temporary protection to those who have fled Ukraine as a result of the Russian attack. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 32,776 applications for temporary protection have been submitted in Finland. By 13 July 2022, 31,284 decisions have been made on the basis of the applications.

“Ukrainians who have applied for temporary protection can work freely in Finland. Some of them are very likely to have also found employment on farms,” says Helminen.

Approximately 68% of persons applying for temporary protection are adults, and 20 153 of them are of working age. Approximately 75% of the applicants who are of working age are women.

Applications for temporary protection are submitted to the police or the Border Guard. The applicant may start working as soon as the application for temporary protection has been registered by the police or border authority.

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