Germany to relax restrictions for seasonal workers

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet has approved proposals from Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner seasonal workers from EU Member States and Schengen countries to be able to enter Germany again as of 16 June without restrictions, a government source said on Wednesday.

Germany had previously stipulated that a maximum of 80,000 seasonal workers could enter the country due to the pandemic, although just under half that quota was used.

As the number of new coronavirus cases falls and Germany continues to ease its lockdown, farmers are keen to ensure they are ready for this year’s harvest, Reuters reported. Last year, almost 300,000 seasonal workers were employed in Germany’s agriculture sector, mainly from Romania and Poland.

However, the government agreed that employers would be required to implement hygiene standards. Fixed teams would be set up from the start to reduce the risk of spreading the virus and if one worker becomes ill, the whole team must be isolated.

Germany will lift border controls with Switzerland, France, Austria and Denmark on 15 June, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on Wednesday, adding the government would reconsider if the coronavirus situation deteriorates. Seehofer also said existing rules for non-EU citizens wanting to come to Germany would be extended until the end of June.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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