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Working group seeks ways to prevent abuse in accommodation conditions for foreign workers

Ministry of Economic Affairs and EmploymentMinistry of Social Affairs and Health
7.10.2021 14.35
Press release

Abuse in the accommodation conditions for foreign workers may, at worst, be part of foreign labour exploitation and human trafficking. The task of the working group for monitoring accommodation conditions is to make proposals on how to develop cooperation between the authorities and the relevant regulations and guidelines. 

The Government of Prime Minister Sanna Marin aims to prevent the exploitation of foreign labour. In its action plan against human trafficking, the Government has promised to define and develop the powers of the authorities that pertain to the accommodation conditions of potential victims of human trafficking. 

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health have therefore set up a joint working group, tasked to develop the monitoring and supervision of the accommodation conditions of foreign workers. The term of the working group is from 1 October 2021 to 30 April 2022.

Workers may be offered accommodation in unsuitable conditions

Accommodation of foreign workers may involve significant risks of abuse, such as accommodation in unsuitable conditions, deducting rent directly from wages, and tying workers to employers by means of accommodation so that the employer or their close circle exercise control. 

At worst, accommodation conditions may be part of foreign labour exploitation and human trafficking and accommodation solutions can be used to exploit social support systems. It is important to see that accommodation conditions contribute to health security.

Working group will identify regulatory issues and find cures

The working group is tasked to:
•    identify possible shortcomings in current regulations and in the functioning of the authorities;
•    identify obstacles to the exchange of information between the authorities in different administrative branches and the measures needed to remove these obstacles;
•    identify if an advance notification of accommodation conditions is necessary, and
•    define development needs in the registration of accommodation conditions.

In addition, the working group shall propose measures for:
•    developing the activities of different authorities and the relevant regulation;
•    improving the exchange of information between the authorities and the provision of information to the target groups;
•    improving the monitoring and supervision of accommodation conditions and relevant regulations;
•    providing better steering and obliging the employer or other actor responsible for offering accommodation to ensure acceptable accommodation conditions.

Working group includes a wide range of authorities

Foreign workforce refers to workers employed by an employer in Finland and workers sent to Finland from EU/EEA countries and third countries. The working group must also take into account seasonal workers and those working without an employment relationship, such as wild produce pickers. 

The working group is headed by Ministerial Adviser Tarja Nupponen at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. A representative from each of the following organisations takes part in the working group: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of the Interior, Finnish Tax Administration, National Police Board, Finnish Immigration Service, ELY Centre for North Ostrobothnia, Rescue Department of North Savo, and OSH Divisions of the Regional State Administrative Agencies. 

Link to the decision on the appointment of the working group

Inquiries:
Tarja Nupponen, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163485,
Olli Sorainen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 048022.
 

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