Government reveals new rules for seasonal workers

Government reveals new rules for seasonal workers

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 Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS) had previously called on the Government to extend the rules for seasonal agricultural workers coming to the UK from just fruit and vegetable pickers to staff working in turkey processing sites in the run up to Christmas.

Now, Government has announced that seasonal workers travelling from exempt countries will not have to self-isolate on arrival, and those travelling from non-exempt countries will have to isolate on the farm they are working on for 14 days. However, those from non-exempt countries will still be able to work during quarantine.

The decision was agreed by the Department for Transport, the Department for Health and Social Care and Public Health England, in order to 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.

“The UK meat industry needs access to reliable skilled workers wherever they come from in order to keep the flow of food from our farms to our plates.”

Tony Goodger of AIMS commented: “This is good news for the poultry industry though we know that some have taken the hit and have had staff in the UK for the last few weeks self-isolating. What we need now is a clear steer that the system will be in place much earlier in 2021 should we need it.

“As an aside, I spoke with an AIMS member last evening to tell him of this announcement. He told me that in lieu of being able to access European workers he’d employed two British people. One didn’t turn up on the first day and they have never heard from him again whilst the 2nd walked out after 90 minutes.

“The UK meat industry needs access to reliable skilled workers wherever they come from in order to keep the flow of food from our farms to our plates.”

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, added: “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, 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.”

Previous / Next posts...