Migrant Workers: Food

(asked on 15th October 2021) - View Source

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of allocating more temporary visas to workers in the food and drink supply chain to ensure sufficient food supplies at Christmas 2021 and beyond.

Answered by
Kevin Foster Portrait
Kevin Foster
This question was answered on 25th October 2021

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:

  • Up to 4,700 HGV food drivers who will be able to arrive from late October and leave by 28 February 2022;
  • Up to 5,500 poultry workers can arrive from late October and stay up until 31 December 2021; and
  • Up to 800 pork butchers who will be able to arrive from early November until 31 December 2021 and stay for up to 6 months.

It will be for the sectors and companies concerned to make use of these opportunities to recruit labour over this period.

However, we must see long-term solutions delivered by employers through improved training 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. Therefore, we have no further plans to provide more temporary visas in this sector.

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

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