Home Travel & Adventure Thailand Hopes Finland’s Wild Berry Picker Ban Won’t Impact Its EU Visa...

Thailand Hopes Finland’s Wild Berry Picker Ban Won’t Impact Its EU Visa Liberalization Efforts


The Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work towards the revocation of a recently imposed ban by the Finnish authorities on Thai will berry pickers, in fears that the same might somehow affect Thailand’s negotiations for the Schengen visa liberalisation.

The PM has instructed the Ministry to first find out why Finland has decided to cease accepting applications from Thais for the 2024 harvest season of wild berries, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

So, I want the Foreign Ministry to first gather information.

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin

Last Friday, on March 15, the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that its Consulate in Bangkok would not accept applications for wild berry pickers, due to concerns of the route being exploited and used for human trafficking.

The decision also affects berry pickers from Cambodia and Myanmar as the Consulate in Bangkok is responsible for accepting and processing their applications.

This means that wild berry pickers from these countries will not be granted Schengen visas for the summer 2024 harvest season.

Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Finland issues Schengen visas for wild-berry picking under the tourism category, permitting the beneficiaries to collect natural berries in the country under the right of public access and sell them to the buyers of their choice.

The MFA, however, claims many of the wild berry pickers had entered into employment contracts upon arrival in Finland, which is not legal.

Picking wild berries in Finland is different from picking non-natural ones. For the latter, workers need an employment contract and in cases when they wish to worker longer than 90 days, a residence permit too.

Thailand to Halt Sending Berry Pickers to Sweden, Too

The Employment Department at the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs has started working to come up with a solution for preventing the exploitation of Thai workers in the Nordic countries. As a short-term measure, the deployment of Thai labourers to work as berry pickers in Finland and Sweden has been halted.

The Department demands from both EU countries to come up with regulations that protect Thai berry pickers and benefit them, before reinstating the agreements.

The director-general of the Employment Department Somchai Morakotsriwan, has said that from now on, employers in Finland and Sweden will need to cover all expenses of Thai workers if they want to hire them.

Back in May 2023, the Thai and Swedish governments had agreed to push for fairer labour contracts for berry pickers, and to step up action against human trafficking, however no further measures have been taken.

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