A nationwide scheme to bring migrant workers to UK farms has been announced by the Government, a decision welcomed by Rachel Maclean, MP for Redditch County, after farmers in her constituency called for a scheme to be introduced.
Last Thursday (September 6th), the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, and the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, confirmed the pilot will enable fruit and vegetable farmers to employ migrant workers for seasonal work for up to six months. 2,500 workers from outside the EU will be able to come to the UK each year, alleviating labour shortages during peak production periods.
The pilot will last for two years and will ease the workforce pressures faced by farmers in Redditch County and across Worcestershire. The Government will then review the pilot’s results and will look at how best to support the longer-term needs of farming outside the EU.
The pilot will also explore how to keep British horticulture competitive, as almost all other OECD countries source seasonal workers to pick fruit and vegetables.
Rachel said: “I’m sure this announcement will be music to farmers’ ears.
“Having been contacted by farmers in my constituency, I know how concerned they were about recruiting seasonal workers once the UK has left the EU. I hope news of this pilot will reassure farmers that the Government will ensure farmers have access to the seasonal labour they need.
“Farmers in Redditch and across the country are vital to the UK’s economy – and myself and the Government will look to support them in any way we can.”