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Fewer foreign berry pickers to Sweden this year after last year’s scandals

Saturday, 13 August 2011
Significantly, fewer berry pickers from outside the EU have arrived in Sweden this year as the berry picking season starts for this years. Both the requirements and lost of steam of would-be pickers are being blamed for the drop.

Last year many Asia were employed to pick berries in Swedish wild forest for top high street shops and great super markets. The berry picker ended up not being paid and going on strike. This produced scandalous headlines beamed all over the world about abused pickers. The Swedish government and would - be pickers themselves have shown interest in the job.

Last year over 4400 people were given work permit to work in agriculture, horticulture, forestry and fisheries. Of these, the vast majority were to pick mushrooms. This year so far the figure is just over 2400 people.

The Swedish immigration authority say they have tighten their rules on those types of workers from people who seem to have abused the system. The stricter requirements mean that employers must ensure payment to their employees and also have their businesses registered in Sweden or another EU country.

“We have provided tools for social actors to ensure that wages are paid. Should there emerge any problems we can point out the principal employer in Europe or the registered branch that would otherwise have to be here,” says Alejandro Firpo of the Swedish immigrations authority.
So far this year, reports of unpaid wages and cheated berry pickers have been few but there are exceptions. According to local media some 20 Bulgarian pickers have been made stranded in H´┐Żlsingland because their employers have not paid them.
By Scancomark.se Team

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