Record number of Thai berry pickers are once again expected in Finland this summer, reports YLE.fi
Two years ago, a new law was passed protecting the berry pickers and this seems to work in providing confidence for the Thais to apply for the jobs. This year, Thai authorities have allowed more than 4,000 berry pickers to work in Finland, which is 500 more than in previous years, the report says.
On the Finnish side, the North Ostrobothnia TE employment office coordinates the arrival of the berry pickers. Among the large berry firms, Polarica Berries and Fruits will bring 1100 berry pickers to Finland, and Marja Bothnia Berries will welcome 900 migrant workers.
Blueberries and cloudberries should have a good harvest this year, Polarica CEO Jukka Kristo told the news site.
“Overall, the season is looking good at the moment, but we don’t know yet how the war in Ukraine and inflation will affect the berry sector,” Kristo told Yle.
The law on the legal status of foreigners who collect natural products came into force in June last year. In the past, the legal relationship between berry pickers and companies was unregulated, said Niko Huru, a labour inspector for the Northern Finland Regional State Administrative Agency.
Kristo from Polarica told Yle that the new law is welcome and the conditions it imposes are not overwhelming to employers. Kristo noted that reputation is vitally important for employers.
“I have now been welcoming them [berry pickers] to Finland. About 80 percent have been with us before, and 20 percent are their relatives. There must be a reason why they come to us year after year to pick,” Kristo said.