Seasonal Workers

Home Office written question – answered on 22nd November 2022.

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Photo of Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Green

To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have (1) to assist seasonal workers whose contracts are terminated early, (2) to prevent brokerage fees from being levied in seasonal workers' home countries, and (3) to support unemployed seasonal workers to find work in agricultural labour jobs or other sectors.

Photo of Lord Murray of Blidworth Lord Murray of Blidworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Seasonal Worker scheme operators are responsible for managing all aspects of the recruitment and placement of workers on UK farms and ensuring their welfare in the UK. This includes ensuring ethical recruitment practices, in line with Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority regulations; arranging a new employer if the worker requires it; and ensuring that workers are fully supported throughout their stay.

The Home Office closely monitors the scheme operators to ensure they are complying with their sponsor duties. Together with Defra, the Home Office also maintains regular contact with operators to ensure they adhere to requirements for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of seasonal workers. Non-compliance with the relevant guidance could result in the revocation of their sponsor licence.

Scheme operators must also be licensed by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority who, supported by the Home Office, are working with overseas agencies to prevent abuse of the system and educate workers about their rights in the UK, including not paying recruitment fees.

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