The number of workers permitted to travel to the UK to pick and package fruit and vegetables will be increased for the 2021 harvest, as the UK government yesterday announced that The Seasonal Workers Pilot, originally launched in 2019, had been extended and expanded for an additional year with 30,000 visas available for those wanting to work on UK farms for up to six months.
The expansion of the scheme follows a long period of close working with the National Farmers Unions and the Association of Labour Providers, across all parts of the UK.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: "We will always back our farmers and growers, who work hard all year round to provide us with a secure supply of fruit and vegetables. The measures announced today will provide vital labour, both domestic and from abroad, to our farmers and growers to help gather the 2021 harvest to feed the nation. Our review into automation will pave the way for a pioneering and efficient future for our fruit and vegetable growers."
NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw: This is welcome and positive news, not just for Britain’s growers but also for shoppers who want to enjoy home-grown fresh produce. By expanding the Seasonal Workers Pilot, the Government is sending a clear message that it is important for Britain to be able to produce its own fruit and veg, which has huge potential for growth. This scheme will allow growers to employ seasonal workers at key times to pick a wide variety of fresh produce on British farms.