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Horticulture: Migrant Workers

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL304, tabled on 17 May 2022

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to issue agricultural visas for picking and processing fruit and vegetables to female Ukrainian workers; and what consideration they have given to housing any such individuals in RAF Linton-on-Ouse.

Answered on

31 May 2022

The Home Office already operates such an immigration route. The Seasonal Worker visa scheme, which has been extended to 2024, allows overseas workers to come to the UK for up to six months to harvest both edible and ornamental crops. 30,000 visas will be available in 2022, and this is being kept under review with the potential to increase by 10,000 visas if there is evidence of need.

The Seasonal Workers visa route is managed by four scheme operators. The scheme operators select, sponsor and monitor migrants, and adhere to all Home Office requirements in practice, including those on migrant safety and welfare.

Under the scheme, licenced operators can recruit workers of any nationality or gender from any EU or non-EU country, including from Ukraine.

The operators of the Seasonal Worker visa route manage accommodation arrangements and must ensure that all workers are housed in safe hygienic accommodation and many UK farms are already set up for accommodating seasonal workers on site for the spring and summer months. Only asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute will be accommodated in the new reception centre at RAF Linton-On-Ouse.

On 24 February the Government announced that all Ukrainian nationals on an existing seasonal worker visa will have their leave in the UK extended to 31 December 2022 and can now switch to the Ukraine Extension Scheme visa if eligible.

Under the Ukraine Extension Scheme those who are successful in their application can stay in the UK for up to three years and will be able to live, work and study in the UK and access public funds. Further details on eligibility can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-to-stay-in-the-uk-under-the-ukraine-extension-scheme. A copy of the guidance is also attached to this answer.

Ukrainian women who are currently in the UK and have a right to work here can also access agricultural jobs through the Department for Work and Pensions’ Find A Job website.