Harvest of strawberries in Poland under threat because of shortage of workers from Ukraine

Up to 40% of the strawberry crop in Poland may remain unharvested due to the lack of workers from the Eastern border, namely from Ukraine, said President of the National Association of Fruit and Vegetable Producers, Andrzej Gajowniczek, the Polish radio reports. 

According to Gajowniczek, it is not only the crop of strawberries that may remain unharvested—cherries and raspberries are also under threat, due to changes in the legal and administrative procedures. 

“The workers from Ukraine have been waiting for a visa for a very long time, but after introduction of biometric passports [in Ukraine], they are not allowed to enter Poland, since, according to the assessment of the Polish Customs Service, only tourists can enter the country using these passports,” Gajowniczek noted. “However, according to the law, the owners of these passports can also work within three months. That would really help the Polish economy.” 

Polish farmers have requested that the customs services treat the workers from Ukraine more liberally; they expect the government will change these rules. 

The Polish Labor Ministry is preparing a series of regulations to simplify employment procedures for foreigners and, in particular, to reduce the waiting time for obtaining a work permit from the relevant Polish authorities.

  Ukraine, Poland, Ukrainian workers, Andrzej Gajowniczek