UK Seasonal Worker Visa Requirements

21 May 2024, 10 mins ago

The Seasonal Worker visa is the most suitable route for those who want to work in the horticulture or poultry production industry on a temporary basis. This blog aims to provide a comprehensive guide to the Seasonal Worker visa application process.

Following the UK’s exit from the EU and the conclusion of free movement rights for EU citizens, the government implemented the Seasonal Worker visa scheme in 2019. The scheme started with a quota of 2,500 places per year. It witnessed a substantial increase in 2023 and 2024, accommodating at least 45,000 workers per year. With the high demand for workers in the horticulture and poultry production industries, the government may further increase the annual quota to 55,000 to meet the labour demand, if it is deemed necessary.

The Seasonal Worker visa allows you to stay in the UK while undertaking work in the horticulture or poultry production industry. For those working in horticulture, you can stay in the UK for a maximum period of 6 months’ employment in the UK in any 12-month period; for seasonal workers in the poultry production sector,  you can stay for a period beginning no earlier than 2 October and ending no later than 31 December each year.

What are the eligible roles for a Seasonal Worker visa?

The following roles are available in the horticulture industry growing:

  • Protected vegetables;
  • Field vegetables;
  • Soft fruits;
  • Top fruits (orchard fruit);
  • Vine and bines
  • Mushrooms;
  • Bulbs and cut flowers (such as daffodils, grown outdoors and indoors);
  • Pot plants (such as seasonal bedding plants like pansies, violas, geraniums and poinsettias);
  • Hardy ornamental nursery stock (such as Christmas trees, shrubs, roses, ornamental trees and perennials);
  • Tree and forest nurseries.

The following roles are available in the poultry production industry:

  • Butcher;
  • Bird/game dresser;
  • Killer and plucker;
  • Plucker;
  • Poulterer;
  • Poultry processor;
  • Poultry sticker;
  • Trusser;
  • Food operative;
  • Poultry catcher/handler;
  • Poultry vaccinator;
  • Poultry meat packer.

Seasonal Worker visa application process

To obtain a Seasonal Worker visa, you must first have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) issued for one of the roles mentioned above. The CoS must be issued by a sponsor who: (i) is listed as A-rated on the Home Office’s register of licensed sponsors; (ii) has an endorsement from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in relation to the Seasonal Worker route; (iii) is licensed by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority.

Securing a CoS is the first step. Once obtained, you can proceed with the application process for the Seasonal Worker visa. As part of the application, the following requirements must be met. Failure to meet these requirements will result in your application being refused.

Financial requirement

The applicant for a Seasonal Worker visa must have funds of at least £1,270, or their sponsor must confirm that they will maintain and accommodate the applicant up to the end of the first month of their employment for an amount of at least £1,270.

Entry clearance requirement

You cannot switch to a Seasonal Worker visa from a different visa within the UK. Seasonal Worker visa applications must be made outside of the UK; seasonal workers must obtain their entry clearance visa before arriving in the UK.

It is important to note that this visa is designed for temporary work and does not lead to settlement in the UK. Additionally, bringing dependants or accepting permanent positions is not currently possible under this route.

However, the Seasonal Worker visa will provide you with a great opportunity to gain valuable experience in the UK’s horticulture and poultry industries.

How Gherson can assist

Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on UK visa matters. If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on XFacebookInstagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.

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 do not 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.

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