Temporary Poultry Visa scheme: how to apply

Published 01 October 2021

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Temporary visas are being made available for peak Christmas trading for poultry and food sector HGV drivers to ease supply chain pressures. These measures are specific, time-limited and one-off and Defra have urged all poultry businesses to consider other medium to long term solutions including how to make roles more attractive to domestic workers in the future.

There are 5,500 temporary visas being made available to the poultry sector and these visas are valid for any occupation within the sector, in both on farm and off farm working environments working with any poultry livestock.

Poultry members who want to make use of the government’s recently announced Temporary Visa scheme for poultry workers will need to use one of the four approved labour providers.

These labour providers are the operators of the Seasonal Workers Scheme which is currently running in the horticulture sector.

Poultry producers and processors who want to apply for visas via this new Temporary Visa scheme should make contact with one of the four approved labour providers to start the administration process. You may wish to make contact with more than one provider and the details to contact them can be found below.

Visa applications usually take up to six weeks to process so it is vital that any business looking to recruit workers via this new scheme make contact with an approved labour provider as soon as possible.

The four labour providers

The four labour providers and their contact details are as follows:

The application process

  1. The poultry business enters into a commercial agreement with one of the four labour providers. The contact details and web addresses for all four providers is listed above. The agreement will cover all fees, terms and conditions for employment and will outline the responsibilities of both the employer and labour provider.
  2. The labour provider acts as a sponsor for the temporary worker. A ‘Certificate of Sponsorship’ is assigned to the prospective employee which can then be used to submit an application for a temporary (T5) visa. Certificates of Sponsorship will be allocated from mid-October onwards on a first come first served basis.
  3. The prospective employee then applies for the visa; the process includes an online application and biometric data collection. The deadline for submitting visa applications is the 15 November 2021.
  4. The completed application is then processed by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and a visa issued to the employee. This will take 15 working days from when the visa application is submitted.
  5. Once the visa is issued, the employee can enter the country under the terms of their T5 visa. Arrangements for travel (both before and after employment) should be put in place by the employer or labour provider (according to the commercial agreement in place). All employees will need a passport to travel.
  6. Visas will expire on the 31 December 2021 so all employees issued a T5 visa under this scheme will need to leave the UK by this date.

The labour providers have all indicated that they can process visas for returnee staff (ie, individuals that have worked for that particular poultry producer or processor in previous years) if contact details of said workers can be provided. The labour providers can also work with agencies who already recruit poultry workers and this may speed up the recruitment process. Businesses should familiarise themselves with GDPR requirements before sharing contact details of workers with a labour provider.

What you need to tell providers

The labour providers are likely to need the following information:

  • Hourly rates of pay on offer.
  • Job description for roles available.
  • Description of working environment.
  • Details of accommodation (the labour provider may be able to help source accommodation but ideally poultry businesses should provide accommodation for their workers).
  • Contact details of any specific workers who have worked for the employer before (It is advisable not to submit the same contact details to multiple labour providers as this may cause unnecessary delays in the process).

As the sponsors for the visas, the labour providers are responsible for worker welfare, so businesses looking to make use of the scheme will need to undergo an audit to ensure working conditions are in line with legal requirements.


I already have workers in other countries lined up to come over, do I still need to use the labour providers listed above?

Yes, the only way to apply for a temporary poultry visa is through one of these approved labour providers. Individual poultry producers and processors cannot apply to the Home Office for visas.

My employees have EU settled status or pre-settled status, do they still need a visa to come and work in the UK?

No, workers who hold EU settled or pre-settled status already have the right to live and work in the UK and do not need to apply for a visa in order to undertake seasonal poultry work.

I have workers who return to my business every year, can I apply for specific people to come and work for me again this year?

Yes, if you can provide the contact details of individuals who have worked for you before and are prepared to return to the UK this year to work then the labour providers can process visas on their behalf. You will still need to use one of the approved labour providers listed above. You should check GDPR requirements before sharing employee contact details with labour providers.

Which countries can I recruit workers from?

The temporary poultry visa scheme is not limited to a particular country or countries, individuals that meet the criteria for the roles you require can be recruited from anywhere in the world.

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