The government's announcement to allow more poultry workers in the UK is a u-turn for ministers who have repeatedly said that they did not want to relax Britain’s stricter post-Brexit immigration laws. Tom Bradshaw NFU Vice President explains how we have worked to change minds and what we will be doing in the future to deal with the crisis.
As the government announced their decision to add 5,500 poultry workers to existing visa schemes, alongside HGV drivers,Tom Bradshaw responded: “Following our letter to the Prime Minister earlier this week, in which we asked him to urgently implement a Covid Recovery Visa to alleviate labour shortages, we welcome today’s announcement to add HGV drivers and poultry workers to existing visa schemes.
“The NFU has worked with the wider food and drink industry to help evidence the needs of the sector and we look forward to working with government on applying the scheme for poultry and, in particular, access for smaller producers.”
Working with government
Tom went on to explain, “We will also continue to work with government to find solutions for the wider labour needs, including trained and able butchers for pork production to deal with the increasingly serious build-up of pigs on farm and the risk of welfare issues.”
The government argues that the solution to the crisis lies in increasing wages and training more UK-based workers rather than relying on workers from overseas. We all understand that there is work to do, but a short-term 12-month Covid Recovery Visa will help us all.
Join the call for action
We are encouraging our members and the public, with a call to Email your MP today to call on Government to introduce a 12-month Covid Recovery Visa so we can keep our vital food and drink supply chain moving.