Airfare, visas, accommodation and other costs could set workers back B150,000, embassy says
Thai workers with their sights set on berry-picking in Finland could end up in debt rather than turn a profit, the Thai Embassy in Helsinki has warned.
In a post on the Facebook page of the Thai Embassy in Finland, officials have sought to raise awareness of the fact that many Thais who travelled to the European nation to pick berries believing they would return home with a lot of money have actually ended up owing money due to hidden costs.
The post, which includes a Thai language infographic, says: “Public Announcement: People intending to collect wild berries in Finland should be aware of the costs and debt involved prior to travel as well as the risks of seasonal price fluctuations.
“Calculate carefully or you may return home with debt.”
A breakdown of costs included in the infographic puts plane tickets to Finland at between 40,000 and 50,000 baht, seasonal work visas at 14,000 baht and travel insurance at a minimum 2,132 baht, with daily living costs estimated from 1,000 to 1,200 baht. All combined, each picker may have to shoulder a cost of over 150,000 baht.
Covering those costs would require a worker to pick about 4 tonnes of berries during a single season, according to the post. The season usually lasts 10 to 12 weeks, from mid-July to early October. Berry prices can range from €0.60 to €1.30 (21.30 to 46.10 baht) per kilogramme depending on the size of the harvest.
Reports emerged late last year that thousands of Thai workers were lured to Scandinavian countries including Finland and Sweden, with promises that berry-picking would be lucrative, only to find inhumane working conditions and unfair payment.