HELSINKI – Ukrainians are coming!

A big sigh of relief was heard across the fields in Finland on Wednesday (6 May) when the news broke out that Ukrainian seasonal workers are arriving to aid the country’s current labour shortage.

The two countries reached an agreement after Finland promised to guarantee Ukrainian workers employment contracts spanning at least three months and healthcare equivalent to what Finnish workers are entitled to, which were the preconditions set by the Ukrainian government.

Because of their high professional skills, Ukrainian workers are particularly sought after in grocery and berry farms.

While Agriculture Minister Jari Leppä (Centre Party) even thanked Ukraine in parliament for allowing its citizens to come over, a Finnish farmer told News Agency (STT) that “we have no time to teach some (Finnish) bartender how to operate and drive a machine”, explaining why Ukrainians are the better option now.

Normally the number of seasonal workers, mostly from Ukraine, Russia and Asia is more than 10,000. However, because of the coronavirus, the number is driven down to about 3,000, approximately half of which are from Ukraine.

Before being able to work, however, workers coming from abroad are first put in quarantine.

(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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