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Government proposes legislative amendments to prevent exploitation of foreign labour – New measures to be launched throughout the term

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 17.12.2020 13.56 | Published in English on 18.12.2020 at 10.44
Press release
Työministeri Tuula Haatainen
Työministeri Tuula Haatainen

The Government has proposed on 17 December 2020, that the Aliens Act be amended to more effectively prevent the exploitation of foreign labour. The legal position of victims of exploitation will also improve. The amendment aims to improve the detection of work-related exploitation.

-Taking advantage of foreign workers amounts to economic exploitation. The purpose of the measures is to make life more difficult for the exploiter while providing protection for the victim. Preparations for the new measures will continue throughout the government term. More is on the way, says Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen.

As a result of legislative amendments, a worker’s residence permit may be refused if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the employer or the sponsor intends to circumvent the provisions on entry or residence during the application process. The proposal would not affect the possibility of a foreigner to obtain a residence permit for another employer. The amendments would give the TE Office better opportunities to refuse workers’ residence permits. 

-In this respect, increasing control prevents exploitation and protects the Finnish labour market from unfair competition. Later, the Ministry will also advise TE Offices on a more consistent use of recruitment bans. I want to temporarily stop recruitment from abroad by employers who have been found to exploit their workers, Haatainen adds.

Legal position of victims of exploitation to improve

If there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the employer of a foreigner working under a residence permit has significantly neglected his or her obligations as an employer or otherwise exploited the worker, the victim could be granted the right to work without a professional restriction or other restriction or to start a business. Under the same grounds, the worker would also be entitled to a new fixed-term residence permit for the purpose of applying for a new job or starting a business.

-As long as the legal position of the victim is weak, the exploitation of foreign labour will remain a hidden phenomenon. By strengthening the victim’s right to work in this country, we will improve the ability of the authorities to detect this disgusting phenomenon and to intervene in it, Haatainen says.

In August, a cross-administrative working group led by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment presented its measures to amend the legislation as well as other measures, which were adopted in the autumn budget session. The Government’s proposal to amend the Aliens Act is part of this package of measures. The working group will continue to make further proposals. 

Olli Sorainen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 048 022
Timo Nevaranta, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 50 574 1430

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