Agriculture: Seasonal Workers

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 30th June 2022.

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Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the number of seasonal worker vacancies in the UK as of 27 June 2022.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Defra works with the agriculture sector and other Government departments to understand labour supply and demand, including for both permanent and seasonal workforce requirements, and to ensure there is a long-term strategy for the farming workforce.

After a series of successful pilots, the Seasonal Workers Visa Route has been progressively expanded and on 24 December 2021 it was announced that the visa route would be extended to 2024 and expanded to include ornamental horticulture workers, providing more certainty for the horticulture sector. In 2022 this provides 30,000 visas, valid for 6 months, with scope for up to 10,000 more visas if there is evidence of need.

Following an announcement in the Food Strategy White Paper the extra 10,000 visas have now been released for the Seasonal Worker visa route (bringing the total to 40,000 visas for 2022) with 8,000 of these going to the horticulture sector and 2,000 to the poultry sector.

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