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Introducing Agricultural Workers Scheme in the UK

Since talks of leaving the EU began, there has been great concerns raised by farmers about the impact that it will have on the agricultural industry. This is because an estimated 90% of British fruit, salad and vegetables are currently picked and packed by migrant workers.

The Home Secretary and the Environment Secretary have responded to these concerns by introducing a nationwide pilot scheme to bring migrant workers to the UK farms. This scheme has only been announced on Thursday 6 September 2018.

As this is the first time the scheme is running in the UK, the details of this is still unclear. However, almost all other Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries source seasonal workers to pick fruit and vegetables and so the concept is certainly not new.

It has been said that fruit and vegetable farmers will be able to employ migrant workers for seasonal work for up to 6 months. The scheme will allow for  a total of 2,500 workers from outside the EU to come to the UK each year, alleviating labour shortages during peak production periods. There are some concerns by farmers that this will not be sufficient.

At present, it has been announced that this scheme will run for two years before the results are reviewed and assessed.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “British farmers are vital to the UK’s economy – and the Government will look to support them in any way we can. This pilot will ensure farmers have access to the seasonal labour they need to remain productive and profitable during busy times of the year. I am committed to having an immigration system that reduces migration to sustainable levels, supports all industry and ensures we welcome those who benefit Britain.”

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “We have listened to the powerful arguments from farmers about the need for seasonal labour to keep the horticulture industry productive and profitable. From lettuce in East Anglia to strawberries in Scotland, we want to make sure that farmers can continue to grow, sell and export more great British food. This 2 year pilot will ease the workforce pressures faced by farmers during busy times of the year. We will review the pilot’s results as we look at how best to support the longer-term needs of industry outside the EU”.

Eligibility:

As mentioned, the details of the scheme are yet to be announced but the main eligibility criteria that has been announced are:

  • workers must be aged at least 18 years old on the date of application and
  • be from outside of the European Union.

Commencement:

The pilot is expected to  commence in the spring of 2019 and is thought to run until the end of December 2020. and will be monitored closely by the Home Office and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (‘Defra’).

How we can help:

For any assistance with your immigration matters, you can contact us on:

T: 020 8935 5205

M:+44 7710987064

E: a.s@master-legal-services.com

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Master Legal Services is a company Registered in England & Wales No.10309474. We are authorised to provide immigration advice and services by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).

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Email

a.s@master-legal-services.com

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020 8935 5205

+44 7710987064

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