Marko Rosqvist, a specialist at the Finnish Industrial Union, told Xinhua on Friday that the starting salary for unskilled agri-workers in Finland is currently somewhat under nine euros per hour. However, the level is 10 times more than what the sector pays in Ukraine. “In Finland, this is a low-wages sector.”
Seasonal agricultural workers to Finland have in recent years come mainly from Ukraine. When foreign agri-labor was introduced in the 1990s, migrant workers initially came mainly from Estonia and then Russia.
Since then, Finnish agriculture has relied heavily on non-EU workforce for its basic agricultural needs. This spring, the border closure due to the COVID-19 epidemic has severely afflicted the farm sector. The government’s decision on Friday raised the number of non-EU seasonal workers to 9,000.
The use of non-EU labor benefits Finnish farming. Helsingin Sanomat reported that a strawberry farm in Salo, southwestern Finland, secured a 4 million euro (about 4.44 million U.S. dollars) turnover last year.