The 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.”