Seasonal worker visa route extended until end of 2024
Post Brexit, as it became obvious that the UK was relying on migrant labour in several low-paid sectors which includes agriculture, the scheme was initiated as a pilot in the month of March 2019 to employ non-EU workers. It was then increased in December 2020 with 30,000 visas attainable.
On 24 December, 2021, the Government of UK stated that it is extending a temporary visa scheme for international seasonal workers until the end of the year 2024, while it will slowly reduce the quota from the year 2023.
The United Kingdom government stated that it will next year offer 30,000 visas for workers to come to the UK for up to six months to pick fruit, vegetables and flowers, possibly amplifying this number to 40,000.
But from the beginning of the year 2023, the number of visas “will initiate to narrow down”, the UK government announced, adding that it is insistent “a plan from the sector to cut the dependency on labour from outside the UK”.
The sector must increase pay and prerequisites, the UK government stated, adding that it was modifying the rules of the scheme so that employers need to pay a “minimum salary”.
Kevin Foster, the UK minister for safe and legal migration stated that the regulated extension “strikes the right balance of supporting the industry while it switches to hiring and giving precedence to local workers”.
Post Brexit, as it became obvious that the UK was dependent on migrant labour in many low-paid sectors including agriculture, the scheme was initiated as a pilot in the year March 2019 to employ non-EU workers.
It was then prolonged in December 2020 with 30,000 visas attainable.
The UK government in September 2021 also declared that it was providing 10,500 three-month visas for lorry drivers and poultry workers to relieve a huge deficit hitting fuel supplies and linked industries.
The announcement made by the government that visa numbers for agricultural workers will narrow down from 2023 was condemned by a farming leader in Scotland, where foreign workers are in demand.