Jack Ward, CEO of British Growers, has produced an open / letter cum briefing document for the industry and others outlining the issues created by the UK’s proposed points-based immigration system.
He pointed out that while the Government’s announcement on 19 February 2020 contained an update to the Seasonal Workers Pilot scheme, expanding it from 2,500 to 10,000 places in time for the 2020 harvest, this is still well below the required level of seasonal labour in the region of 70,000 workers.
“As things stand following this announcement, we face going into the 2021 season with just 10,000 permits for non-UK workers, a shortfall of around 60,000,” Jack warned. “I am working closely with the NFU on the case for increasing the number of permits to a more realistic level and will report on this as things develop over the next few weeks.”
He also said that growers need to contact their MPs to highlight the impact of this decision on their businesses, other local businesses and the local economy. “It is important to highlight that most people coming to the UK for seasonal employment are not looking for residency status and are therefore not adding to the migration statistics,” he added.