An estimated 80,000 seasonal pickers came to work in the UK last year and the industry expects that figure to rise to around 95,000 by 2019.
Tory MP Kirstene Hair has called for the introduction of a seasonal visa scheme as a matter of urgency, warning ministers that the industry could spiral into ‘turmoil’. “With regards to a solution there is only one choice in my view, the introduction of a system that permits individuals from European and non-European states to come to the UK specifically to carry out this seasonal work.”
Dailymail.co further quoted her as saying: “This is not labour that can be undertaken by the existing British workforce. We do not have the numbers in the rural areas which require them, nor do we have those who are willing to undertake the lifestyle necessary for harvesting crops.”