The summer season on strawberry farms is approaching – over 10,000 decisions for seasonal workers processed
The processing of the applications of seasonal workers is progressing swiftly. The Finnish berry and vegetable farms and agricultural employers will again be employing thousands of foreign workers this summer.
Most of the seasonal workers arrive in Finland for work for a short period of time in the summer. They can request for a certificate for seasonal work from the Finnish Immigration Service, under which they are permitted to work in Finland for up to 90 days. Anyone staying longer than this must apply for a residence permit for seasonal work. As in previous years, most of the seasonal work permits are issued to Ukrainian nationals.
As many as 10,050 certificates for seasonal work have already been issued between January and May this year. The total number of decisions issued on certificates for seasonal work is 10,144. Seasonal work permits have been issued to 820 applicants, when the total number of decisions is 852. (Decisions in 2020: certificates: 12 266, residence permits for seasonal workers 1,316)
“We would like to thank seasonal workers and employers for starting the application process well in advance. We have received applications earlier than usual this year, which has made our work so much easier,” says Tutta Tuomainen, Head of Section for Seasonal Work Permits.
Automation speeds up the institution of applications
The processing of requests for seasonal work certificates is partly automated, which means that some of the criteria for the certificates are checked through an automated process. If the applicant meets the criteria, the system produces proposals for decisions for confirmation by immigration officers. Thanks to more seasonal workers submitting their requests via Enter Finland online service, the processing time for certificates has been speeded up.
“Using Enter Finland makes the process quicker because it allows us to use automation more effectively. For example, we would advise employers to submit the terms of employment via the employers’ Enter Finland portal,” Tuomainen says.
The median processing time for certificates for seasonal work was 22 days between January and April. The median processing time means that half of the applicants have received their decision in 22 days or under.
The median processing time for residence permits for seasonal workers was 44 days between January and April. The maximum legal processing time for residence permits for seasonal workers is three months. Processing a residence permit takes longer than processing a certificate request and it requires a visit to a Finnish mission abroad or a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service.
“We expect that this year some of the seasonal workers who arrive in Finland on a certificate for seasonal work will exceptionally apply for longer residence permits in Finland, because the coronavirus pandemic has affected the operations of Finnish missions abroad,” says Tuomainen.
The seasonal work legislation changes in June
Some changes to the Seasonal Workers Act will enter into force in June. The purpose of the changes is to make it easier for seasonal workers to change employers while in Finland, to reduce the administrative duties of the employers in reporting employee information and to make it easier for workers to return to work for the same employer in the coming seasons.
“The amended legislation will introduce changes in the processes concerning seasonal workers, as our customers had hoped,” Tuomainen says.
Some of the changes will enter into force as soon as in June. New instructions to customers will be published on the website of the Finnish Immigration Service in June, and the new Act will enter into force on 17 June 2021.
*Correction made 24.5.2021: 852 is the total number of residence permit decisions for seasonal work, not the total number of applications.
Further information for the media
Tutta Tuomainen, Head of Section, e-mail [email protected], tel. +358 (0)295 433 037