The Home Office has announced the Seasonal Worker visa route has been extended until end of 2024, to allow foreign workers to come to the UK for up to six months to pick both edible and ornamental crops. There will be 30,000 visas available next year, but this will be kept under review with the potential to increase by 10,000 if necessary.
NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw said: “This is positive news for the thousands of fruit, veg and flower growers that rely on essential seasonal workers to help pick, pack and grade our iconic fresh produce. These growers will be extremely relieved to have clarity over the future of the scheme for the next three years.
“We have worked very closely with ministers and officials to secure the additional visas and the inclusion of ornamentals, which is something we have been calling for and is desperately needed for flower and plant growers across the country.
“With labour shortages so rife across the entire food supply chain, we will continue to monitor the situation closely and continue to engage with the government on the sector’s needs.”