UK farmers have delivered an impassioned plea to Liz Truss’s government to expand the Seasonal Worker Scheme (SWS). This would allow more foreign workers to travel to the UK to harvest their crops.
This year, the government expanded the SWS to allow 30,000 temporary migrants to come to the UK for up to six months, with a reserve of a further 10,000 visas if necessary. But the NFU and others claim that this figure falls far short of the 70,000-plus temporary workers that are needed each year, to pick and pack ornamental and food crops.
During an NFU fringe event at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham on Monday 3 October, farmers asked the MPs to urge ministers to act now and expand seasonal farmworker numbers for 2023, to offer stability to farm businesses hit by labor shortages and soaring energy costs.