NFU responds to Home Office update on freedom of movement

Daffodil picking_64191The NFU has today said it is ‘incredibly concerned’ by the suggestion from the Home Office that its existing leave to remain policy will no longer apply post-Brexit, leaving farmers and growers with no clarity about how they will access workers after 31 October.

The Home Secretary Priti Patel recently commented that freedom of movement will end on 31 October and a subsequent blog from the Home Office does not include reference to the existing leave to remain policy, which would allow workers to apply to stay for up to 36 months.

In the blog, the Home Office says that arrangements for people coming to the UK for longer periods of time and for work and study ‘will change’. It says that ‘details of other changes immediately after 31 October and improvements to the previous government’s plans for a new immigration system are ‘being developed’.

A letter from the NFU has been sent to the Home Secretary Priti Patel to express the need for urgent clarity about how EU workers can come to the UK post-Brexit and reiterate the absolutely crucial role they play delivering safe, traceable and affordable food to the British public.

NFU Deputy President Guy Smith said:

“The NFU is incredibly concerned that the Home Office has seemingly removed the existing Leave to Remain process which would enable EU citizens to enter the country after 31 October. With no current alternative arrangements being communicated by Government, a critical supply of people for British food and farming will be cut off overnight and our members feel it leaves an irresponsible gap in government policy.

"Farmers and growers are alarmed by this decision and it has left them with no clarity about whether they will have access to workers from the EU after 31 October.”


Last edited on: 20:08:2019

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  • Posted by: judith BaybuttPosted on: 25/08/2019 11:23:56

    Comment: The government is completely out of touch with farming and horticulture. Do they not realise that without EU workers, farms cannot operate - we rely on them. The majority of them who come over to the UK come for the sole purpose of working and are NOT illegal immigrants as the general public and ministers seem to think - they pay their taxes just like everyone else. They are certainly not taking jobs from British people as the British seem to think working 10 hours a day, 6 days a week is too hard for them, especially when they can get "paid" ( job seekers allowance, family credit etc) for doing nothing all day.
    We are struggling now recruiting staff to harvest crops, so what it is going to be like after 31 October doesn't bear thinking about. The only time the British people will think about farming is when there is no home grown food to buy and everything is imported because there is no longer a farming industry.
    It is time the public and government in particular decided just what they are going to do to help farming after 31 October. They need to do this NOW not next year or whenever they get round to it. Boris Johnson had no idea of the real world, living in his safe little bubble in London, while farmers are out in all weathers trying to harvest crops for the British public.

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