The Seasonal Worker route is extended for 5 more years

29 May 2024, 15 mins ago

The UK government has announced the extension of the Seasonal Worker visa route for another five years, running until 2029. This decision aims to offer businesses the certainty needed to plan effectively, invest in automation, and gradually reduce their reliance on migrant labour.

From 2025, the horticulture sector will receive 43,000 visas, while the poultry sector will be allocated 2,000 visas. The government has also outlined its commitment to enhancing the sector’s attractiveness to domestic workers through regional recruitment strategies and increased collaboration between industry and education providers.

The Seasonal Worker visa allows overseas nationals to engage in temporary work in specific sectors within the UK. For the horticulture sector, this includes jobs such as picking fruit and vegetables for up to six months, while the poultry sector covers employment from October to December each year. Applicants must have a job offer from an approved sponsor and meet the eligibility requirements.

Additionally, the government is investing up to £50 million in technological advancements, including fully automated packhouses and robotic crop pickers. This investment aims to achieve consistency between robotic and human pickers within three to five years, reinforcing the UK’s position as a leader in agricultural innovation.

Environment Secretary Steve Barclay emphasises that these measures will strengthen the UK’s world-class food and drink sector, providing farmers and growers with the stability and support needed to thrive in the long term.

The extension of the Seasonal Worker visa route is part of the government’s strategy to modernise the food supply chain and bolster the agricultural workforce.

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