The coronavirus (koronavirus, in Finnish) has cut off the entry of foreign workers into Finland. Currently, Finnish farms are facing a big shortage of labour in the spring and summer seasonal work in agriculture.
The Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK) says at least 14,000 employees will be needed in the spring and summer agricultural campaigns. In past years, the majority of those workers have been foreigners. So far, this year some 1,000 Finns have applied those jobs but that is just a small amount of the labour needed.
On Monday, the government outlined that a small number of foreigners will be admitted to Finland for critical tasks, but this will not cover all labour needs.
Horticulture, ProAgria Centers Association and the Swedish Lantbrukssällskapens förbund (SLF) now clarified that 10,000 jobs are available in Finland's fields. According to the organizations, the farms have an urgent need for labor.
Organizations recommend applying for jobs at the website of the public employment services. In addition, some recruiting and Human Resources companies are offering jobs.
Personnel services company Barona reports that it started a search for seasonal workers in agriculture last Thursday and more than a thousand applications have been received since then.
The list of vacancies includes jobs as a strawberry picker, tractor driver and greenhouse worker.
8-10 euros per hour
According to the organizations' bulletin, gardening often requires physical fitness. Previous experience is often not required. And the salary is just 8 to 10 euros per hour.
Timo Taulavuori, CEO of the Finnish Association of Landscape Industries, says that the work will be done in its entirety in accordance with the collective agreement.
On the other hand, a group created by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment noted that seasonal workers are an essential part of the country’s food production and their ability to carry out agricultural work must be ensured, even under exceptional circumstances.
The group said people coming to the country to work will be required to be quarantined for a two-week period upon arrival. The migrant workers’ employers will be responsible for arranging transportation from their point of entry to quarantine locations.
Furthermore, employers will be required to provide and follow coronavirus-related safety guidelines for arriving workers.
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the country’s employment office (TE-offices) have decided to quickly launch a campaign to attract young people, immigrants, laid-off workers and the unemployed to seasonal jobs.
The ministries have also considered ways to import workers from Ukraine and Russia.