58 workers forced to leave Sweden after police raid strawberry farms

Fifty-eight berry pickers were expelled from Sweden after raids on strawberry farms.

58 workers forced to leave Sweden after police raid strawberry farms
Police raided strawberry farms in southern Sweden. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Southern Sweden border police visited strawberry farms in Landskrona and Kalmar on Monday. Those who did not have the proper paperwork were immediately told to leave the country as a result.

“They were put on the ferry to Poland from Ystad last night,” police spokesperson Eva-Gun Westford told regional newspaper Sydsvenskan on Tuesday afternoon.

The workers were Ukrainian citizens. Another five, from Belarus and Russia, will also have to leave Sweden. Their employer now risks being prosecuted for hiring people without proper work permits.

In 2008, Sweden relaxed its rules for non-EU work migration, and thousands of seasonal workers come to the country every year to pick berries. Last year the Migration Agency approved almost 5,000 such permits.

But some employers used the looser rules to exploit foreign workers and the rules were tightened again a few years later.

The stricter laws have led to a number of cases of skilled professionals being deported, even in many cases where they had the correct work permits but they or their employer had made a minor error.

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