British Growers’ Chief Executive Jack Ward has been in meetings with officials from the Home Office looking for practical solutions to the challenge of securing adequate numbers of seasonal workers in the future.
Ward explained that the meeting was part of a series of meetings held with government departments and the Edible Horticulture Round Table of which he is the co-chair. The meeting was set up at the request of the Home Office and formed part of their consultation on the White Paper on Immigration published at the end of 2018.
The government is keen to find a balance between the need for greater control over the numbers of non-UK nationals seeking work the UK and the needs of industry. British Growers used the meeting to highlight that the use of seasonal workers makes minimal difference to the numbers seeking to settle permanently in the UK. In the vast majority of cases, seasonal workers come to the UK and return home when the work runs out at the end of the season.
The immigration Bill is likely to complete its passage through parliament later this year. The Bill will be largely enabling legislation and the detail will follow in 2020 once the consultation on the fine print is complete.