Finland: Ukrainians Account for the Largest Group of Seasonal Workers in 2024 so Far

As a country known for welcoming most foreign workers to work in agriculture every summer, especially those from Ukraine, Finland now requires some wild berry pickers to apply for a residence permit.

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Considering that Ukrainians make up the largest group of applicants for seasonal work certificates in Finland, this year, they account for 83 per cent of all applications as well,  Schengen.News reports.

Kosovo Ranks 3rd in Terms of Largest Groups of Seasonal Workers in Finland for This Year

Following the positive impact of visa liberalization for Kosovars this year, the latter has risen to third place after Ukraine and Moldova in terms of the number of applicants for seasonal work certificates in Finland.

According to data provided by the Finnish Immigration Service, at the beginning of June 2023, seasonal workers submitted 1,830 certificate applications. In addition, a total of 1,506 people who applied for certificates have been submitted so far.

Further data revealed that in 2023, seasonal workers applied for 805 residence permits in Finland, however, this year, seasonal workers have submitted 1,201 applications for residence permits.

As the data shows,  those who have fled Ukraine and applied for and received temporary protection are free to work in any job. Since the start of the war in February 2022, Finland has granted temporary protection to more than 67,000 refugees from Ukraine.

Seasonal Workers From Thailand, Cambodia & Myanmar Are Required to Apply for a Visa to Work in Finland

In March of this year, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also decided to suspend the acceptance of visa applications of berry pickers in Thailand. It revealed that the suspension applies to all applicants in countries within the consular district of the Finnish Embassy in Bangkok, including Cambodia and Myanmar.

In February 2023, the Foreign Ministry significantly tightened the guidelines for processing wild-berry pickers’ visa applications. After the 2023 harvest season, the Ministry thoroughly assessed the conditions for issuing Schengen visas.

Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Seasonal workers coming from a visa-free country must apply for a certificate for seasonal work from the Finnish Immigration Service, which allows them to work in Finland for up to 90 days. Meanwhile, a seasonal worker from a country subject to the visa requirement must fill out an application for a seasonal work visa at a Finnish embassy or consulate.

Finland to Process Applications of Seasonal Workers Before Start Summer Season

Moreover, seasonal work permits for picking cultivated berries are applied for much earlier, and most applicants decide the start of the season. As a result, from January to May 2024, applicants received a positive decision on applying for a seasonal work certificate within 16 days on average. Meanwhile, applicants for a short seasonal work permit of 3-6 months receive a positive decision on average within 28 days and for a license of 6-9 months within 35 days.