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Conference abstract, 2012

Migrant workers in Swedish agriculture

Alwall Svennefelt, Catharina; Lundqvist, Peter


Objectives Finding competent work force is a challenge for many farmers and owners of companies within agriculture and horticulture. This is even more a great issue when it´s a matter of finding seasonal workers. During a number of years there has been an increasing share of the work force with a non-Swedish background. But they are not immigrants which are becoming integrated in rural areas – they are migrant workers from other countries. The working conditions for these migrant workers are not well documented and their own experiences and attitudes and not yet studied. There is also lacking knowledge about the perspectives of the Swedish co-workers and the owners / managers on farms with migrant workers. With economical support from the Swedish Farmers Foundation for Agricultural Research (SLF) these issues are studied during 2012-2013. Methods The project has started with a short up-date on other relevant studies, published reports and papers as well as connections with other researchers in this area – both national and international. A web-based survey among employers has been done in the first part of this project. In the on-going part there are work-place studies with in-depth interviews involving migrant workers as well as Swedish co-workers and employers in order to get a base-line of knowledge for further actions. Results The initial web-based survey to employers was responded by almost 4000 farm employers. About 20% of the responders said that they used migrant workers during 2011, the majority from a country within the European Union (EU). The main reason for using migrant workers was lack of Swedish workers and financial reasons. The migrant workers were used for in many different work operations such as: animal production, weeding, planting and harvesting of field crops, forestry work, construction and maintenance of farm buildings. The major problems were related to language issues, such as: communication, information, misunderstandings etc. The employers wanted further support with information about regulations, information material on different languages and other issues on a web-page or as a practical “hand-book”. The final results will be presented and discussed at a work-shop with involved stakeholders, organizations, authorities, researchers and other in order to create an action plan, a webpage or a “hand-book” for employers and managers as well as a research plan for further research. Further international collaboration including EU-funded projects is important to establish a sustainable labor market.

Published in

Landskap, trädgård, jordbruk : rapportserie
2012, Volume: 2012, number: 2012:16, pages: 19
Book title: HEALTH AND SAFETY IN AGRICULTURE. Nordic and world-wide perspectives.
ISBN: 978-91-87117-15-2
Publisher: Arbetsvetenskap, Ekonomi och Miljöpsykologi (AEM), SLU


Nordic Meeting on Agricultural Occupational Health & Safety 2012