Government has not requested foreign workers from Ukraine

Strawberry pickers.
Strawberry pickers. Source: ERR

Pressure from foreign countries changed the Ukrainian government's mind and allowed seasonal workers to leave the country, says Estonian Ambassador to Ukraine Kaimo Kuusk. But, Estonia was not among the countries speaking with the Ukrainian government.

Kuusk told ERR many countries need migrant labor from Ukraine for the summer and negotiated with the government which had originally said seasonal workers would not be allowed to leave Ukraine.

"Both European Union countries and the British, who are in great need of these workers, wrote letters to the President of Ukraine at the level of prime ministers and asked for permission to bring these workers in by charter flights," Kuusk told ERR.

He said Poland and Lithuania will allow Ukrainian workers to enter the country by land.

However, Estonia has not joined forces with other EU countries. Kuusk confirmed the embassy has not been approached by the government about the issue of seasonal workers.

"Our government's decision was to extend the work permits of the Ukrainians currently in Estonia, which will soon expire, until July 31, and then look ahead, because the wish must still come from our farmers - the Ministry of Rural Affairs - and then the wish must come to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," he explained, outlining the procedure.

Ukraine has set minimum requirements for countries that want seasonal workers: an employment contract of at least three months, health insurance and normal living conditions.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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