Berry picking all time high this summer

Expect a record number of around 1300 Thais traveling to Sweden this summer to earn money as wild berry pickers.
     That is well over last year’s around 500 seasonal workers from Thailand, according to Sweden’s embassy in Bangkok who handles the berry pickers’ visa applications.
     The 1300 do not need a work permit as they will pick wild blue-, cloud and lingonberries in the forests and sell them to Swedish buyers.
     “And for those who like to come and pick wild berries does the Swedish migration board, Miv, cooperate with the association of wild berry trade, SBIF, which has undertaken the social and economic responsibility for people invited to work by companies approved by SBIF,” says Ms Gunilla Wikström, at Miv´s department for approvals, to scandasia.
     The cooperation between SBIF and Miv was introduced a few years ago to prevent new cases with fraud and harassment of Thai berry pickers in Sweden. A large number of Thai berry pickers were scammed in Sweden and Thailand during the year 2000 season.
     Only workers hired to pick at farms need a work permit for seasonal assignments in Sweden. Workers who have a reference from a Swedish employer may apply for a seasonal work permit. This has however attracted only a small number of Thais.
     But also the large groups of Thais who pick in the forests need references from Sweden to get the necessary tourist visa. Their names are checked against name lists provided by SBIF and Miv to the embassy in Bangkok before the visa is issued.
     Despite Swedish precautions did Thailand’s Department of Employment issue warnings this May to Thais approached by agents promising work as berry pickers in Sweden.

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