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Migrant Workers: Food

Question for Home Office

UIN 52436, tabled on 21 September 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the food and drink sector's proposal for a covid recovery visa scheme.

Answered on

11 October 2021

The Points Based System already provides for a range of roles in the food and drink sector, including roles such as Butchers, subject to the rules and requirements of the system being met, including on salary.

Beyond the Points Based Systems, employers can recruit those with general work rights including the millions of people who have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme, those who have arrived via our settlement route for British National (Overseas) normally resident in Hong Kong and their households, those who have arrived via a family visa and those in the UK under our Youth Mobility Schemes. They have full access to the UK labour market and are free to work in the UK and can undertake any role.

But recognising the extraordinary circumstances facing businesses currently, Government is providing visas as a time-limited, temporary measure for the food sector until longer term measures to improve the supply of skills domestically. start to have an impact. This includes visas for up to:

• 4,700 HGV food drivers who will be able to arrive from late October and leave by 28 February 2022 and;

• 5,500 poultry workers will arrive from late October and stay up until 31 December 2021.

However we must see long-term solutions delivered by employers through improved testing and hiring, with better pay and working conditions, as immigration routes do not provide a guarantee of being able to recruit in a competitive global market for skilled workers.

Answered by

Home Office