Here, the NFU highlights some of the key things workers and their employers need to prepare for, including forms that workers must complete before arrival.
This article is not a replacement for government guidance and all employers and workers should read the official guidance before travel. The guidance is available here – this is available in several languages which can be selected at the top right hand side of the page.
Workers arriving in the UK to undertake seasonal roles in edible horticultural production need to follow government guidance to ensure they are able to work on farm.
Travelling to the UK
Before travelling to the UK, workers must fill in this form giving their journey and contact details and the address of the farm on which they will be living and working.
Workers will also be asked to provide proof of employment, such as a letter from their employer: a template letter from the NFU can be found here [Link to letter].
The completed form and proof of employment must be provided to Border Control on arrival, so it must be easily to hand.
Note: Workers should not travel if they have coronavirus symptoms. If a worker contracts symptoms while travelling they should inform the crew on their transport.
Travelling to the farm
Where possible, employers should collect their workers from their point of arrival (eg airport) and then travel direct to the farm. Public transport should not be used unless there are no other options, and if so then the use of face coverings and social distancing should be maintained.
Within 2 hours of workers arriving at the farm, employers should give workers:
- clear instructions about their working and living arrangements
- industry guidance on social distancing
You should ask workers to give written confirmation that they have received and understood this information.
At the farm - accommodation
Only workers living onsite are exempt from the quarantine rules. In the first 14 days new arrivals can work but must avoid contact with others. For the first 14 days, you should put workers into groups made up of workers who arrive on farm within 24 hours of each other and strictly limit contact with others outside of those groups. Workers should follow social distancing (best practice guidance can be found here). Workers can only leave the farm in exceptional circumstances eg medical emergency, access critical services, funeral of close relative.
Employers should support employees by arranging help or deliveries to access necessities such as food or medication.
After the first 14 days, assuming workers do not develop symptoms, they will then need to follow the same rules as the rest of the UK.
If coronavirus symptoms develop in the first 14 days in the UK: Please follow government guidance and look for the signs of infection.
If symptoms appear then workers should apply for a coronavirus test here or by calling NHS 119. Anyone who lives with the person with symptoms should also apply for a test.
If the test for coronavirus is positive then the worker will be asked to share those that they have had contact with via the NHS test and trace service. The contact detail declaration form filled in prior to arrival in the UK may be used to alert those who travelled to the UK at the same time.
Others on farm
Should a worker fall ill then the group that they live and work with will also need to self-isolate.
At the end of 14 days self-isolation on farm
After 14 days of arrival, if no-one in the group tests positive or has any coronavirus symptoms, or 14 days after the group is isolated due to a positive test, employers should ensure that workers are aware of:
- guidance on dealing with suspected cases of coronavirus and
- guidance on staying alert and safe (social distancing), both on and off the farm
- industry best practice on social distancing
Read more on NFUonline: