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Helsinki (21.08.2020 - Heikki Jokinen) Finland will intensify its battle to prevent the exploitation of foreign labour. A working group from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment published its proposal for new measures in this endeavour on 20 August. This received immediate support from the trade union movement.

The working group drafted 14 proposals for legislative measures, measures related to the guidance provided by the authorities, and measures designed to improve cooperation. There are also proposals for a more effective system of imposing sanctions on employers guilty of exploitation.

Further resources are to be made available to the authorities, also. Cooperation between the authorities is to be enhanced by improving the exchange of information and the use of surveillance and other data, the working group advises.

Tuula Haatainen, the Minister of Employment stresses that political decision-makers and authorities must remain alert and vigilant as the black economy is a phenomenon that changes constantly.

"Exploitation must be recognised as a phenomenon that requires a more stringent approach. We are now taking action on a wide front, by developing legislation and by creating better operating conditions for the supervisory authorities", the Social Democrat Minister says.

SAK welcomes the proposals

The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK was quick to express its support for the proposals. It sees the proposals as going in the right direction and hopes that these will soon turn into reality.

Several of the proposals are the same as SAK has already earlier proposed, SAK says.

"Exploitation of foreign labour is a growing and serious problem and swift solutions are needed", says Eve Kyntäjä, the Immigration Policy Specialist at the SAK.

In particular, SAK is especially grateful for any proposal that seeks to improve and redress the situation of the victim and focuses more on imposing sanctions on the employer guilty of exploitation. SAK also welcomes the proposal that would prevent employers from using deceptive means to recruit people from abroad.

Eve Kyntäjä also supports the proposal to change the law in a way that would allow an exploited employee to stay in the country and find a new job in another branch.

"The system of residence permits must be made more flexible so that an employee can move from one branch to another, when needed. The existing practise just serves to perpetuate the employee's dependence on a single employer and exposes him or her to exploitation", she adds.

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