Government unveils plans for 45,000 visas for seasonal workers

The allocation will allow businesses to recruit foreign workers to come to the UK for up to six months through the Seasonal Worker visa route – an uplift of 15,000 compared to what was available to businesses at the start of 2022.

The Government said this number would be kept under review with the potential to increase by a further 10,000 if necessary. This would also be contingent on sponsors and growers improving and abiding by worker welfare standards, including ensuring that they are guaranteed a minimum number of paid hours each week.

The first 4,000 visas are to be made available to operators this week to ensure that daffodil growers have the labor available for their harvest at the start of the year, she said.

The industry has been calling for changes to the system to help support British food production and help to tackle the labor shortages.

New scheme operators

The government said it would also be appointing new scheme operators to help with the efficient operation of the visa route and help safeguard worker welfare. The new team will also focus on ensuring sponsors are abiding by workers’ rights by improving training and processes for compliance inspectors and creating clear policies and guidance for robust action for scheme operators where workers are at risk of exploitation.

Seasonal labor has long been part of the UK’s rural economy, and while it is right that we offer long term support to increase the use of domestic labour, we also need to support businesses on the back of what has been a challenging year for food. producers,” said farming minister Mark Spencer.


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