In these times of pandemic and health emergency, the Finnish Government is searching for foreigners to work in those activities that are now considered important to keep the country functioning, for example the agricultural sector.
On 2 April the Government submitted a proposal to Parliament to temporarily amend the Aliens Act and the Seasonal Work Act. According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the aim is "to allow legally residing third-country nationals (from outside the EU or the EEA) to work in sectors and tasks important for security of supply."
The Government emphasized in a press release that, due to the situation created by the coronavirus pandemic, Finland faces now "the challenge" of having "sufficient labour, especially for the horticultural, agricultural and natural products industries, which need seasonal workers, but also for the construction and shipbuilding industries, as well as for energy technology, logistics and transport."
"Foreigners who are unemployed or temporarily laid off with work-based residence permits could be used in labor-intensive sectors, especially in seasonal agricultural work," the Ministry says.
The law needs to be amended because the current legislation does not allow foreigners with a residence permit based on work to change the field of activity for which the permit was issued. When employees from third countries want to change their work sector, they must apply for an extended permit.
Government said the new provisions would apply to all existing and new residence permits, visas and seasonal work certificates. The new provisions will enter into force "as soon as possible" and remain in force until 31.12.2020.