United Kingdom: Seasonal Workers Pilot extended for 2021 harvest

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The number of workers permitted to travel to the UK to pick and pack fruit and vegetables will be increased to 30,000 permits for next year’s harvest, the government announced, extending the ‘Seasonal Workers Pilot’ scheme.

It has been expanded for an additional year with 30,000 visas available for those wanting to come and work for a period of up to 6 months.

“We will always back our farmers and growers, who work hard all year round to provide us with a secure supply of fruit and vegetables. The measures announced today will provide vital labour, both domestic and from abroad, to our farmers and growers to help gather the 2021 harvest to feed the nation. Our review into automation will pave the way for a pioneering and efficient future for our fruit and vegetable growers,” Environment Secretary George Eustice said.

The development comes just weeks after the government shared its roadmap for the agricultural transition period.

Notably, the island country needs around 80,000 seasonal farm workers every year and about 99% of these come from countries within the European Union.