Warning against berry picking jobs in Finland

The Department of Consular Affairs has warned Thai job seekers about applying for berry-picking jobs in Finland, saying that returns may not worth the investments and the jobs are not comfortable as they may have thought.

Berry-picking jobs in Finland are usually available during July and September and, in the past several years, many Thais were tempted to apply for the jobs and eventually found out that they were cheated and ended up heavily indebted.

The Consular Affairs Department said that each job seeker would have to spend an average of 165,000 baht to secure the job. The expenses are broken down as followings: 65,000 baht upfront paid to the brokers and the rest to be paid upon arrival in Finland which include rental fees for overcoats, equipment to pick berries, lodging fees, transportation fees, visa fees and air fare.

The department said that earnings for the berry pickers would depend on the amount of berries picked and pickers are supposed to work from 4 am until late in the evening without days off. If a worker gets a day off, he or she will not get paid.

Because of the weak Euro currency, the department said berry pickers would receive less when their earnings in Euro are exchanged into Thai baht.

Berry pickers are not protected by law and are not entitled to social security because they are usually issued with tourist visas and they do not have employment contracts. In case they get sick, they will have pay a large sum of money for medical treatment.

In conclusion, the department said the promised returns may not worth the spendings and the hardship they will have to endure.