Farmers call for permission to employ guest workers in Latvia

  • 2020-05-28

Latvian non-governmental farmer organizations invite responsible authorities to participate more actively in tackling border crossing issues so guest workers from third countries could be employed in agriculture, "Zemnieku saeima" said in a media statement on May 21.

Given the lack of employees in agriculture, farmers have concerns about harvesting fruit, berries and vegetables. This week the association "Zemnieku Saeima", the Agricultural Organizations Cooperation Council and the Latvian Agricultural Cooperatives Association sent a letter to responsible authorities expressing concern about lack of employees.

The harvesting season is approaching but the interest in job offers is minimal, despite the stated gross monthly salary of EUR 900.

Farmers are dismayed by the pessimistic prospects that harvests could remain on the field while consumers purchase produce grown in other countries.

The harvesting season in Latvia is between June and October, and around 1000 seasonal workers are needed

The total number of guest workers employed in the country reached almost 10 000 in 2019, of which approximately 5000 were Ukrainian nationals.

Therefore, in assessing compliance with the restrictions adopted in the context of the pandemic, the responsible authorities of the farmers' organization ask for the possibility of employing guest workers; to be more actively involved in tackling border crossing issues; to allow migrant workers to start work immediately if there are no signs of the infection and the COVID-19 test is negative.

"Guest workers should not be seen as a threat to the country, language or culture. No developed European country has so far done without guest workers," said Juris Lazdiņš, Chairman of the Board of the Farmers Committee.