Pilot scheme now open

The seasonal workers pilot scheme is now open. The new pilot will mean growers are able to employ up to 2,500 non-EU migrant workers for seasonal work for up to six months.

Concordia and Pro-Force, the two scheme operators, have been licenced to manage the pilot and will be responsible for identifying suitable workers and matching them to UK farmers. They will also be required to ensure the welfare of the workers whilst they are in the UK. The first group of workers will arrive on UK farms this spring, subject to recruitment and visa application processes.

David Rutley, Food Minister said: “Our farmers and growers have been absolutely clear about the need for additional sources of labour to work on farms during the busy harvest months. We have heard these concerns, which is why today we are opening this pilot to boost the workforce on farms this spring and summer and help farmers with their harvests.

“This pilot, which will be closely monitored and reviewed, will help inform future policy as we look at how best to support the longer-term needs of the industry outside the EU.The pilot will test the effectiveness of our immigration system at helping to alleviate seasonal labour shortages during peak production periods, whilst maintaining robust immigration control and ensuring there are minimal impacts on local communities and public services.” The pilot will finish in December 2020.