Easier access to medical care for foreign seasonal workers

A simplified process to qualify for medical care has been introduced for seasonal workers arriving in Finland from a non-EU country for a period of less than 90 days. An application for the right to medical care can be filed as soon as the contracted worker has been granted a certificate for seasonal work by the Finnish Immigration Service and a seasonal work visa by a Finnish diplomatic mission.

Seasonal workers include the workers who work in the farming, market gardening or tourism sectors but not for example those hired to pick wild berries.

It is also in the employer’s interests to ensure that their workers have a right to medical care. Employers can ask Kela to determine a seasonal worker’s right to medical care provided that the worker has authorised the employer to do so. Applications for the right to medical care can be submitted on the Kela form SV 141e (Entitlement to medical care when moving to Finland). It can be printed from Kela’s website.

Kela issues seasonal workers a document titled ‘Certificate of entitlement to medical care in Finland’. By presenting this certificate to a public healthcare provider, seasonal workers get the treatment they need at the same cost as Finnish residents.

The process of qualifying for the right to medical care was simplified at the beginning of February 2021. Previously, seasonal workers from outside the EU had to have a Finnish personal identity code to qualify for a certificate of entitlement to medical care in Finland. According to Reetta Kyyrö of Kela’s International Affairs Centre, by the time they qualified for the certificate, seasonal workers may no longer have been working in Finland.

Typically 14,000 to 20,000 seasonal workers per year arrive in Finland. The first are expected in March.

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