U.K. announces new pilot farmworker scheme

September 06 , 2018

The U.K. Government has announced a pilot scheme to bring 2,500 seasonal workers to U.K. farms annually, as the sector faces severe labor shortages.

Many farmworkers in the U.K. are from European Union member states but have been leaving the country in significant numbers as it prepares to leave the bloc.

The pilot will mean fruit and vegetable farmers are able to employ migrant workers for seasonal work for up to six months.

In a release, the government noted British soft fruit production has grown by 130% over the last two decades, and to ensure that this growth continues farmers must also look at ways that technology can reduce demands for labor.

But it said harvesting solutions are not universally available and so in the short-term, this pilot will support farmers during peak production periods.

The government added that the pilot would also explore how to keep British horticulture competitive, as many other developed countries source seasonal workers to pick fruit and vegetables.

“This pilot will ensure farmers have access to the seasonal labour they need to remain productive and profitable during busy times of the year,” said Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

“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.”

 

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