Foreigners picking wild berries and other natural products in Finland

Finland welcomes every year approximately 2500–4000 foreign natural produce pickers who almost solely pick wild berries. Most of the foreign pickers come from Thailand. Foreign pickers come to Finland also from i.a. Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and from the Baltic countries. Along with the foreign pickers, also comes the support staff, who commonly need a residence permit for work or business.

Usually, the foreign pickers are not under employment relationship to the natural product picking sector operator. Foreign pickers pick natural products in Finland from July to September-October.

Act on the legal status of foreigners picking natural products

  • Strengthens the legal status of wild produce pickers and lay down the obligations of companies in more detail and in more binding terms.
  • Improves the pickers earnings opportunities and equalizes the companies competitive environment.
  • Strengthens the natural product picking sector’s conditions to grow sustainably and become more international.

Act on the legal status of foreigners picking natural products came into force on 14th of June 2021 and legislates the pickers rights, natural product sector operator’s obligations and the supervision of following them and the sanctions of neglecting them. The obligations of the companies that buy natural products, are mostly the same than in the previously followed sector’s Letter of Intent, but in more detail and in more binding terms.

The Act on the legal status of foreigners picking natural products does not apply to the entry or residence conditions of foreigners picking natural products. The Act will apply when the work is not carried out in an employment relationship. If work is carried out in an employment relationship, employment legislation will apply as before.

Tasks of the Northern Ostrobothnia Employment and Economic Development Office

Northern Ostrobothnia Employment and Economic Development Office monitors the fulfillment of the conditions for a natural product operator on sections 5 and 7 of the Act on legal status of foreigners picking natural products. Northern Ostrobothnia Employment and Economic Development Office also takes care of the national mission for foreigners picking natural products in Finland. Employment and Economic Development Office gives guidance to the pickers and natural product sector operators about the applying of the Act’s sections 4–7, the responsibilities of the sector’s authorities and guides to transact with the responsible authority of the specific matter.

Northern Ostrobothnia Employment and Economic Development Office assesses and makes the decision about the natural product picking sector operator’s reliability. Employment and Economic Development Office monitors the payment of the picker’s earnings and the compliance of charging banned fees and on Finland’s Representation abroad or Labour Inspection Authority’s request, gives a statement regarding those requirements.

Northern Ostrobothnia Employment and Economic Development Office gives statements about the companies that invite foreign pickers to Finland on the request of Finnish missions abroad or the Labour Inspection Authorities:

  • Preliminary reports
  • Business conditions in the natural product picking sector
  • Ability to meet the obligations regarding foreign pickers

Northern Ostrobothnia TE Office’s national mission of law enforcement and coordination regarding foreigners picking natural products authority does not include job placement. If you want to apply for seasonal work or other open vacancies, please look at the open vacancies in Jobmarket Finland.

Tasks of the Labour Inspection Authorities

The Labour Inspection Authorities supervises the law if the supervision does not belong to other authority’s responsibilities. The Labour Inspection Authorities, among other duties, supervise the fulfillment of the rights of the pickers, obligations of the natural product collection sector operator and makes occupational safety and health inspections to the pickers accommodation bases.

Natural product picking sector operator has the obligation to inform the Labour Inspection Authority in advance the locations of the pickers accommodation bases.  If the pickers accommodation base changes during the picking season, an advance notification of a new accommodation base must be made to the Labour Inspection Authority. The information of the pickers accommodation bases are given to the Labour Inspection Authorities here:

For more information, go to Labour Inspection Authorities website:

or ask via e-mail: luonnontuotteidenkeruu@avi.fi.

Practices for the companies that are responsible for foreign pickers

Foreign nationals outside the Schengen countries and visa-exempted countries need a visa to pick natural products in Finland. The visa of the foreigners who come to Finland to pick natural products gives only the right to pick natural products. It is also possible to pick natural products as an employee and in these situations the Act on the legal status of foreigners picking natural products withdraws and the labour legislation is applied.

If you are an employer for foreign employees that pick natural products on the side of their employment and you organize the conditions to pick natural products to purchase the natural product from them, the Act on legal status of foreigners picking natural products applies. In these circumstances, you must have a valid positive decision about the natural product picking industry operator’s reliability. If you are unsure if the Act is applied, please take contact to Northern Ostrobothnia TE Office.

When you invite foreign pickers to Finland or are the responsible of their picking conditions, take care of these matters:

  • It is prohibited under penalty of a fine to act as a natural product picking sector operator without a valid decision about reliability. Ask Northern Ostrobothnia Employment and Economic Development Office for a decision about reliability which is given for one year at a time.
  • Familiarize the picker to the following matters: picking and conditions in Finland, the legal relationship between the operator and picker, the rights, and responsibilities of the picker in Finland, everyman’s rights, the entities giving guidance and legal protection in Finland and other essential matters.
  • Pay the picker’s all picking earnings before the picker depart from Finland and arrange up-to-date earnings follow-up.
  • Take notice that it is prohibited under penalty of a fine to charge the picker fee for recruitment or any services related to entry or to exit Finland, familiarization, yield monitoring or charge interest for financing the picker’s travel costs.
  • Take notice that it is prohibited under penalty of a fine to charge the picker unreasonable fee for picking equipment, accommodation, vehicles, or catering. The costs charged from the picker must be in balance with what the service contains and at maximum, should correlate what the operator paid for the services.

For more information on the effects of the Russian attack on Ukraine for labor mobility, visit the Finnish Immigration Service's website:

Everyman’s Right

The commercial utilization of the Finnish wild berries, mushrooms and plants is made possible by everyone's rights, i.e., the right to collect berries, mushrooms and herbs from nature without a separate permit. Act on the legal status of foreigners collecting natural products applies to natural products that are permitted to be picked under the right of every man without the consent of the landowner.

For more information about Everyman’s Right, please go to website maintained by the Finnish Forest Administration:

Contact information

Security message service
Please use Turvaviesti service for sending confidential e-mails and documents. Pick Northern Ostrobothnia TE Office Registry as a receiver.

Guidance and other contacts
berrypicking.northern-ostrobothnia@te-office.fi

If you want guidance in Finnish, Swedish, English, or Russian, please leave a call back request via e-mail: marjanpoiminta.pohjois-pohjanmaa@te-toimisto.fi.

Postal address
Pohjois-Pohjanmaan TE-toimisto
Sepänkatu 20
90100 Oulu

Päivitetty: 21.11.2022