Laws | The position of foreign berry pickers is going to be changed

The ministry has prepared an amendment to the Seasonal Work Act regulation.

22.12. 15:43 | Updated 22.12. 20:31

Foreigners natural berry pickers are going to be transferred to the scope of the Seasonal Work Act, says the Ministry of Labor and Economy (TEM).

The ministry has prepared an amendment to the Seasonal Work Act regulation, which would require an employment contract between the picker and the company for entry into the country.

According to the ministry, Thailand has repeatedly demanded that the collection should be based on employment as a condition for the pickers to leave the country.

According to TEM, the change would reduce the risk related to the level of earnings and bring foreign natural berry pickers within the scope of the laws regulating employment relationships.

The Marjalaki, or the law on the legal status of foreigners collecting natural products, came into force in June of last year. However, according to TEM, the new law has not completely removed the grievances.

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“The serious criminal suspicions that came to light during the fall also show that berry picking in its current form involves significant risks for the picker, which is also one of the key reasons to switch to employment,” the announcement reads.

For berry picking in the connected preliminary investigation, suspected aggravated human trafficking, aggravated bribe-taking and aggravated abuse of official position have been investigated. According to the Central Criminal Police (krp), the preliminary investigation unit has expanded as the investigation progresses and the number of people involved has increased.

The focus of the preliminary investigation is two berry companies operating in Finland and a Thai company that recruits berry pickers in Finland.

Krp suspects TEM Olli from Sorai for gross abuse of official position and gross bribery. The Ministry of Finance has suspended government adviser Sorainen from his post for the duration of the criminal investigation.

Sorainen has worked in the Ministry of Finance as a responsible civil servant, among other things, in the preparation of the Berries Act.

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The police have said that they doubt that the official processes of the berry picking business would have been facilitated with the help of bribes. According to his lawyer, Sorainen denies the criminal suspicions.

Correction on Thursday 22.12. 4:58 p.m.: The article previously erroneously wrote that the Berry Act, which regulates the status of foreign berry pickers, was going to be changed. In reality, an amendment to the Seasonal Work Act is being prepared.

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