Issuing of visas to wild-berry pickers suspended at Finland’s Embassy in Bangkok
In November 2022, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs instructed the Embassy of Finland in Bangkok to suspend the issuing of visas to Thai wild-berry pickers for the time being. The Ministry stated as grounds for the suspension a number of ambiguities concerning wild-berry picking, including unreliable information entered into visa applications, risk of trafficking in human beings, an ongoing police investigation in Finland and possible amendments to the status of wild-berry pickers.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has prepared a proposal to amend the Seasonal Workers Decree so that a contractual employment relationship would be required for the picking of natural products. The public consultation on the proposal has just ended, and the plan is to have the amendment in force in time before the start of the harvest season. The amendment would mean that all pickers arriving in Finland would be in a seasonal worker's contractual employment relationship with their employers.
Seasonal workers must apply for a visa for seasonal work at Finland’s diplomatic missions. This visa is intended only for seasonal work in Finland for a maximum of 90 days. As a rule, most wild-berry pickers apply for a visa in late spring as the harvest season approaches. The Ministry will inform later how the amendment to the Seasonal Workers Decree will affect the issuing of visas for wild-berry pickers.
Citizens of Thailand may submit their visa applications at the Embassy of Finland in Bangkok even in the future. The applications will be processed on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the Visa Code. This normally means an assessment of the reliability of the information provided in the application, the purpose of travel and the sufficiency of the applicant’s financial resources, among others.
- Embassy of Finland in Bangkok:
- Jyri Järviaho, Ambassador
- Johanna Manni, Team leader, migration matters
- Ministry for Foreign Affairs:
- Katja Luopajärvi, Counsellor
- The email addresses of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are in the format firstname.lastname@example.org.