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Asylum seekers’ right to work will be temporarily extended to improve availability of seasonal labour

Ministry of the Interior 25.6.2020 14.01 | Published in English on 25.6.2020 at 15.21
Press release 71/2020
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Asylum seekers’ right to work will be extended by a temporary amendment to the Aliens Act. The amendment will concern the start and end of the asylum seekers' right to work. The Government submitted the bill amending the Aliens Act for approval on Thursday 25 June. The President of the Republic is expected to approve the bill on Friday. The Act will enter into force on 29 June.

The legislative amendment will temporarily abolish the three-month and six-month waiting periods for asylum seekers for taking up employment. As soon as the Act enters into force, asylum seekers will have the right to work in agriculture, forestry, horticulture and fisheries. This will help alleviate the situation where a shortage of seasonal employees from abroad is likely this year in Finland. The Act will remain in force until 31 October 2020.

The abolishment of the waiting periods will apply to asylum seekers who are waiting for a decision concerning international protection either from the Finnish Immigration Service or from an administrative court at the time of the entry into force of the temporary act. Under the amendment, the time left in the waiting period will be set aside for those asylum seekers where the three- to six-month waiting period for their applications has not yet expired.

In addition, asylum seekers can temporarily continue working longer than at present in agriculture, forestry, horticulture and fisheries. If asylum seekers receive a negative asylum decision and the removal decision concerning them becomes enforceable, they may continue working while they are in the country due to emergency conditions and receive reception services.

Due to the travel restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the entry of foreign labour has decreased significantly. This makes it challenging to find a sufficient number of workers, especially seasonal workers, in the agriculture, forestry, horticulture and fisheries sectors. For this reason, we also need to find ways to employ a range of domestic and foreign workers who are already in Finland for critical tasks. In its negotiations on 6 May, the Government decided on measures to ensure the availability of seasonal labour needed in agriculture and horticulture. 

Parliamentary reply

Parliamentary reply includes a resolution:

1. Parliament requires that the Government closely monitor the impact of the temporary legislation to be enacted and that it submit a report on the matter to the Administration Committee by the end of 2020. 

2. Parliament requires that the Government investigate how employers can more reliably ascertain the right to work of a person who has applied for international protection and that the Government, if necessary, take appropriate legislative measures.

Roope Jokinen
, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 362, [email protected]