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Berry pickers from Thailand cleared to come to Finland

Published : 25 Jul 2020, 21:09

  DF News Desk

Finland Suomussalmi berry picking. File Photo VisitFinland.

The obstacles for Thai nationals to come to Finland to pick up wild berries have been removed, as the Foreign Ministry confirmed on Saturday that Finland will begin granting visas to them from Wednesday, reported Xinhua.

The government had already authorized the arrival of Thai berry pickers despite the COVID-19 epidemic, but permission from Thai authorities had been delayed. Finland has set a quota of 3,000 wild berry pickers from Thailand.

Earlier on Saturday, the Thai Ministry of Labor announced that Thailand's government will allow migrant laborers to come to Finland and Sweden to pick berries this summer, with strict guidelines for employers and workers, reported national broadcaster Yle.

According to Finnish officials, companies employing Thai labor must commit themselves to compensating all extra costs possibly caused by COVID-19. The companies must also guarantee a 3,100-euro net income to every Thai worker, irrespective of how many berries they pick.

The berry industry is a characteristic Finnish industry, which is heavily reliant on foreign labor. Representatives of the Finnish wild berry industry welcomed the news.

While the pickers come too late for the cloudberry season, a fairly normal annual harvest in blueberries and lingonberries will be attained because of their arrival, companies told Finnish media on Saturday.

"The decision came at the last moment," Janne Naapanki, CEO of Arctic International, a Finnish company specialized in berries and mushrooms, was quoted by Yle as saying.