The NFU has expressed disappointment with recommendations from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to exclude agriculture from its list of jobs in short supply and that need to be filled by non-UK workers post-Brexit.
The MAC review of the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) has excluded critical agriculture roles, while it has included roles such as dance choreographers and artists.
During the consultation, the NFU provided a range of critical jobs that many non-UK workers perform on farms at all skill levels, such as dairy herdsmen and poultry technicians.
NFU President Minette Batters said:
“The NFU is staggered that farming has been ignored in this way and that the MAC has failed to recognise the needs of our industry, and the implications for shoppers wanting to continue to buy affordable high-quality British food.
“The consultation was poorly managed, with events arranged at just 48 hours’ notice. These events were supposed to gather evidence on those occupations in shortage across all skill levels, highlighting the need for experience, aptitude and knowledge.
“In a post-Brexit world, access to overseas workers may be restricted. If we can’t get some of these permanent roles on the Shortage Occupation List, we will be limited purely to UK-based workers to fill those jobs. We know, with the country at near full employment, the numbers are just not there.
“There are still options available to us through the new immigration policy the Home Office is designing, and the NFU will continue to campaign to raise awareness of these issues with MPs.
“We urge government to look carefully at these recommendations and add the roles we desperately need so the critical jobs that many non-UK workers perform on our farms at all skill levels are accounted for.”
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