Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Updated rules for farm workers arriving in England
Seasonal workers arriving in England to carry out vital work on farms ahead of Christmas will now be able to work as soon as they arrive in the country.
The temporary measures published yesterday will mean seasonal poultry workers arriving from abroad will be able to work during their 14-day quarantine period from 4am on 17 November. However, they will still be required to self-isolate from the general public. To avoid spreading the virus, they will be required to form ‘cohorts’ meaning they only live and work with a select group of the same workers during their stay and they do not mix with other employees.
The decision, agreed by the Department for Transport, the Department for Health and Social Care and Public Health England, will ensure poultry farmers and food producers, in particular turkey farmers, have access to the necessary workforce to mitigate any potential risks to Christmas food supply.
Each year around 5,500 seasonal workers arrive on English farms to help during the busy festive period. This includes slaughtering turkeys, a job that demands high-skilled professional labour to ensure our animal welfare standards are maintained.
Nevertheless the UK has a highly resilient food supply chain which held up well in the spring, and will do so again over the festive period. The Government continues to work closely with food retailers and the food industry to ensure it is prepared to deal with a range of scenarios.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, yesterday said:
Christmas dinner is the highlight of the year for many families and this year it will be particularly significant.
Businesses up and down the country have faced unprecedented challenges from Coronavirus and these measures will ensure UK farmers and food producers are supported and able to keep up with the Christmas demand over the festive period.
Environment Secretary, George Eustice, yesterday said:
It’s essential that farmers and food producers get the support that they need at this busy time of year, so it is good news that seasonal workers will be able to get straight to work once they arrive in the country.
The run-up to Christmas is particularly important for farmers and food producers who need more workers on their farms to meet the festive demand.
Seasonal workers will be required to comply with a number of rigorous measures including:
- Self-isolating away from the general public for the first 14 days – workers will stay in their work/accommodation bubbles with food and other required goods delivered to them by their employer
- Cohorting – workers will be placed in groups with whom they will live and work, without mixing with other workers, throughout their stay, to contain any potential positive contacts
- Covid-secure guidance – workers and employers will be provided with clear and translated guidance jointly developed by Defra and PHE
- Time limit – all seasonal poultry workers are required to leave England by 31 December 2020, at which point the exemption will no longer be in force
National restrictions introduced on 5 November 2020 remain in place meaning everyone must stay at home unless travelling for a very limited set of reasons, including for work or education. This means people can no longer travel to take holidays or travel internationally – unless for work or other legally permitted reasons. Those in breach of the rules face penalties starting at £200 and rising to a maximum of £6,400.
Latest News from
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Government pledges to boost Britain’s access to nature ahead of COP2829/11/2023 11:20:00
Government sets out ambitious new nature package, with measures to improve access to green space and connect the public with the natural world
New forest for the nation to improve access to green space28/11/2023 11:20:00
Government launches competition for a new national forest to improve access to nature.
Forests fit for the future – government funding announced for new forest research27/11/2023 15:10:00
Healthy and resilient woodlands supported through new £16 million government funding.
Environment Secretary address at International Grain Conference - 25 November 202327/11/2023 13:10:00
Environment Secretary Steve Barclay made a video address on financial support to the Ukrainian people at the Kyiv International Summit: Grain from Ukraine (25 November 2023).
Environment Secretary Steve Barclay: UK stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine to protect global food security27/11/2023 11:20:00
Environment Secretary recently addressed Kyiv conference and announced further support for Ukraine food security initiatives.
£74m investment to reduce water and air pollution from slurry21/11/2023 14:20:00
A further £74 million will help farmers invest in slurry infrastructure to tackle water pollution, improve air quality and make better use of organic nutrients.
UK’s agri-food and drink attachés backing British food and drink21/11/2023 11:20:00
The UK’s agri-food attachés were welcomed to 10 Downing Street this morning, marking the start of a week meeting ministers and the nation’s food producers
Flood Action Week: Households need to know their flood risk after 2023’s record-breaking weather20/11/2023 11:17:00
This Flood Action Week (20-26 November) the Environment Agency is urging people to prepare for increased weather extremes