The number of applications submitted by seasonal workers this year is expected to be lower compared to the last year, said the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) in a press release on Friday.
However, the availability of the workforce has been good as the Ukrainians refugees, who have been granted temporary protection in Finland are free to work in any job.
Between January and May, 1,830 seasonal workers had applied for a seasonal work certificate, mainly from Ukraine, Moldova and Serbia while 805 workers, mainly from Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, have applied for residence permits based on seasonal work.
“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,” said Mikko Keski-Nirva, Director of the Seasonal Work Section of the Permit and Nationality Unit of Migri.
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,” said Keski-Nirva.
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 (in 2022 it was 39 days) and for residence permit applications 45 days (in 2022 it was 61 days).
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.
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 Migri 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 Migri. EU nationals do not need a separate seasonal work permit.
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.
- Seasonal workers