Ukraine decides to allow seasonal workers to leave the country

Farm worker in Ukraine.
Farm worker in Ukraine. Source: Scanpix

Even though Ukraine said last week it will ban seasonal labor from leaving the country, deputy prime minister for European affairs says it's possible if certain conditions have been met.

Seasonal workers looking to work outside Ukraine must be guaranteed work for three months, health services and necessary insurance, the Ukrainian government said.

Ukraine wants to have a clear overview of seasonal workers leaving the country and for the process to take place in an organized fashion. It is part of the strategy for relaxing crisis restrictions in the country, the Ukrainian government's press release reads.

"We are aware that the state cannot offer the active part of seasonal workers the kind of salary they could make in Europe, but we are not putting artificial obstacles on their path. Our goal is for leaving the country to take place in a maximally organized manner," said Vadym Prystaiko, deputy prime minister of European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

Prystaiko said governments should turn to his office if they want Ukrainian laborers. "We expect work to be guaranteed for at least three months /…/ That seasonal workers are guaranteed access to health services, also when they return to Ukraine," Prystaiko said, adding that host countries also need to give seasonal laborers social insurance, health insurance, good living conditions and salary.

Prystaiko believes seasonal workers could be transported using charter flights.

Finland has shown considerable interest in Ukrainian workers and would need around 14,000 seasonal laborers from the country.

Finland to launch talks

Finland is set to launch talks with Ukraine next week, Maaseudun Tulevaisuus writes (link in Finnish).

"All the preparations for bringing in seasonal workers have been made and the next charter flights will take place as soon as the necessary permits are in order," Marko Mäki-Hakola, director of business development at the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK), said.

One flight carrying Ukrainian seasonal workers arrived in Finland before the Ukrainian government's exit ban.

Finland hosts around 16,000 seasonal workers from Ukraine every year, while fewer than 500 have arrived this year.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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