This year, significantly fewer berry pickers from outside the EU have arrived in Sweden since the requirements on the berry businesses has been tightened. After years of scandals with exploited pickers, this season there has been significantly fewer such reports in Swedish media.
Last year over 4,400 people from outside EU gained Swedish work permit to take jobs in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. Of these, the vast majority where berry pickers. So far this year the corresponding figure is just over 2,400 people.
”It is not unlikely that our regulations has had the effect that non-serious employers do not seek permits any more,” says Alejandro Firpo, Head of the Migration Board’s unit for labour immigration, to the news agency TT.
The stricter requirements means that employers must ensure wages and have the business registered in Sweden or another EU country.
”We have provided tools for the actors on the labour market to ensure that wages are paid. If there is a problem, then we can point out the principal employer in Europe, or the registered branch that would otherwise have to be here,” says Firpo.
As in previous years the largest group of seasonal workers are from Thailand. This year approximately 2,300 people. The next largest group consists of Ukrainians, about 80 people.