The deadline for submitting evidence to inform the inspection was 20 June 2022.
We submitted evidence showing how a combination of unparalleled challenges (Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine crisis) have contributed towards increased input costs, supply issues and the current labour crisis.
While acknowledging the continued efforts of the industry to increase domestic recruitment into agricultural roles, we provided evidence showing the key role of migrant labour within the sector.
In our response we:
- Highlighted concerns that the Skilled Worker Visa route continues to have limited applicability to many within the agricultural sector.
- Called for an expansion of the Youth Mobility Scheme which would provide an opportunity for eligible individuals to come and live and work within the UK for up to two years.
- Stressed that the industry needs to have the confidence that it can source the labour it needs to avoid the risk of scaling back production and limiting future investment.
- Called for a seasonal worker scheme for the poultry sector.
- Called for the Seasonal Worker Scheme to be expanded further into 2023 to reflect the drop in EUSS workers taking up seasonal jobs within the UK.
- Emphasised the need for timely government announcements regarding the Seasonal Worker Visa Scheme and highlighted the impact that delays and uncertainty has had on the industry over recent years.
It remains vitally important that all agricultural businesses can access the labour that they need.
While the industry is committed to continue its engagement with the domestic workforce there has to be an immigration policy that allows it to fill both seasonal and permanent roles.