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Agriculture: Migrant Workers

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 19730, tabled on 24 February 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) EU and (b) overseas nationals employed as (i) semi-skilled and (ii) unskilled workers in agriculture.

Answered on

2 March 2020

The information requested at this level of detail is not held by Defra. However, we can provide information taken from the ONS Annual Population Survey which shows the number of EU/EEA nationals working permanently in the agricultural sector for the whole of the UK. These figures will not include seasonal workers living in communal or temporary accommodation and do not show a distinction between semi-skilled and unskilled workers in agriculture.

The ONS Annual Population Survey showed that the number of EEA nationals working permanently in UK agriculture in 2019 was approximately 18,000.

Further ONS data suggests that meat processing (48%), fish processing (46%), fruit and veg processing (35%) and the manufacture of other food products (27%) had high proportions of non-UK EU nationals in their workforce in 2019.