|Similar schemes have worked before|
A nationwide pilot to bring migrant workers to UK farms has been announced by the Home Secretary and Environment Secretary.
The 2-year pilot will mean fruit & vegetable farmers are able to employ migrant workers for seasonal work for up to 6 months. 2,500 workers from outside the EU will be able to come to the UK each year, alleviating labour shortages during peak production periods.
Soft fruit production in the UK has grown dramatically, by 130% in the last 20 years. To ensure that this growth continues and the UK is at the forefront of the next agriculture revolution, farmers must also look at ways that technology can reduce demands for labour.However, automated harvesting solutions are not universally available and so in the short term, this pilot will support farmers during peak production periods. This pilot will also explore how to keep British horticulture competitive, as almost all other OECD countries source seasonal workers to pick fruit and vegetables.