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Home Office Launches Pilot of Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme

Posted by: Gherson Immigration

Home Office Launches Pilot of Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme

On 6 September 2018, the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, and the Environmental Secretary, Michael Gove, launched a two-year pilot scheme to support UK farmers. 

The scheme will allow non-EU migrant workers to work on farms and then return after six months.  The pilot scheme will begin in spring 2019 and will allow the recruitment of up to 2,500 non-EU workers.

Two scheme operators, who will oversee the placement of the workers, will run the Seasonal Workers pilot scheme.  Details on who the scheme operators are have not yet been released and will follow in due course.  

Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, stated that “This pilot will ensure farmers have access to the seasonal labour they need to remain productive and profitable during busy times of the year” and added that he is “committed to having an immigration system that reduces migration to substantial levels, supports all industry and ensures we welcome those who benefit Britain”. 

The announcement comes as British Summer Fruits, the industry body representing companies that supply fresh berries in UK supermarkets are reporting staff shortages of 10-20%.  The National Farmers Union (NFU) estimates that 60,000 seasonal workers are employed in UK horticulture every year, with approximately 67% having previously come from Romania and Bulgaria, 23% from other countries in the EU and just 1% from the UK itself.  

The promise of an additional 2,500 workers will not fill the shortage but many believe that it is a step in the right direction, with the NFU branding the scheme as a “major victory”.   

This is one of the first indications of how the Home Office may deal with labour shortages post Brexit.  

 

 

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2018

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