The number of seasonal work permits is declining – many Ukrainians receiving temporary protection work on farms
The number of applications submitted by seasonal workers this year is expected to be lower compared to last year. However, the availability of the workforce has been good.
The Finnish berry and vegetable farms and agricultural employers will employ thousands of foreign workers every summer. Traditionally, seasonal workers have come to Finland, especially from Ukraine.
Most of the seasonal workers arrive in Finland for work for a short period of time in the summer. Seasonal workers arriving from visa exempt countries can request a certificate for seasonal work from the Finnish Immigration Service that allows them to work in Finland for up to 90 days. A seasonal worker from a country subject to the visa requirement should apply for a seasonal work visa at a Finnish foreign mission. Seasonal workers with an employment contract longer than 90 days will require a residence permit from the Finnish Immigration Service. EU nationals do not need a separate seasonal work permit.
“The number of applications is moderate compared to previous years, and we expect fewer applications for seasonal work permits this summer than in the past, especially for short-term work,” says Mikko Keski-Nirva, Director of the Seasonal Work Section of the Permit and Nationality Unit.
In 2022, seasonal workers submitted 5,209 certificate applications. This year, the number of applications for certificates is estimated to reach around three thousand. In addition, seasonal workers applied for 1,600 residence permits in Finland. This year, the number of applications is expected to be slightly lower than last year.
Ukrainians have traditionally been the largest group of applicants for seasonal work certificates, accounting again this year for 87% of all certificate applications. In addition, those who have fled Ukraine and have applied for and been granted temporary protection are free to work in any job. Last year and from January to May this year, a total of 53,886 refugees from Ukraine have been granted temporary protection.
“Ukrainians are still employed as seasonal workers, but because a large number of them stay in Finland with temporary protection status, they do not need a separate seasonal work certificate,” says Keski-Nirva.
The availability of labour has improved
Although the number of applications is smaller than previously, according to information from employers' organisations, the availability of seasonal workers has been better than in recent years. In Finland, seasonal workers are hired not only in horticulture, agriculture and forestry, but also in sectors such as tourism and catering.
Between January and May, 1,830 seasonal workers had applied for a seasonal work certificate, mainly from Ukraine, Moldova and Serbia. 805 workers, mainly from Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, have applied for residence permits based on seasonal work.
The processing of applications for seasonal workers is semi-automated, making it more efficient. The processing times have become shorter. The average processing time for decisions on certificate applications is 18 days (2022: 39 days) and for residence permit applications 45 days (2022: 61). Processing a residence permit takes longer than processing a certificate request as it requires a visit to a Finnish mission abroad or a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service. The Finnish Immigration Service's target is to process all work-based residence permits within one month by the end of 2023.
“We recommend that employers use the Enter Finland online service to fill in their terms and conditions of employment. Submitting the entire application online helps reduce the processing time and the employee receives a decision more quickly,” says Keski-Nirva.
Media enquiries and further information
Mikko Keski-Nirva, Head of Section, Permit and Nationality Unit, tel. 0295 434 107, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Finnish Immigration Service
The Finnish Immigration Service is a decision-making organisation in matters related to immigration, asylum, refugee status and citizenship and maintains the reception system.
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