After a successful two-years, Pro-Force will continue to be a pilot scheme operator in 2021. The pilot, which is being extended for a further 12 months, will have the number of visa’s increased to allow the recruitment of 30, 000 seasonal workers from outside of the UK.
The scheme will form an invaluable part of plans to ensure the UK has enough labour to harvest the £1.5 billion worth of fruit and vegetables it grows each year.
Chief executive Matt Jarret said Pro-Force were proud of their role in the successful 2-year pilot scheme and was looking forward to further supporting the UK’s horticulture industry in 2021.
He said: “2020 has been a challenging year with labour supply affected by the uncertainty of BREXIT, planning for a new immigration system and the impact of COVID on seasonal labour migration routes. The expansion of the scheme for 2021 is testament to the success of the pilot, and will be welcome news for the thousands of growers that need seasonal labour to harvest their wonderful UK produce.”
Matt Jarrett explained that the Pro-Force are delighted with the performance delivered in 2020 and are seeking to maintain and improve these high standards in 2021. Sourcing seasonal workers for the UK horticulture industry is vital to our food supply chain but not at the risk of putting workers in situations of potential exploitation, or reducing the high standards being achieved across the horticultural industry and that ethical standards would remain an integral part of the scheme.
“We look forward to continuing to work with DEFRA, The Home Office and growers in 2021 to ensure the UK horticultural industry continues to thrive.”
Matt goes on to say that “we continue to build the Pro-Force management team and I am delighted to announce Sam Zubaidi will be joining Pro-Force in January 2021. Sam joins us having led Concordia’s Agriculture Recruitment Division for the last 4 years where he was the strategic lead for the Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme and responsible for the overall strategy and compliance of the division. Sam’s appointment will further strengthen the Pro-Force team and help us deliver for our clients in 2021 and beyond.”
David Camp, ALP Chief Executive, says, “ALP has made a strong case that, where the evidence demonstrates, there should be limited immigration of key workers into essential sectors. As such, ALP welcomes the government’s decision to allow immigration of seasonal workers for edible horticulture by GLAA licensed labour providers in 2021.
Ali Capper, Chairman of the NFU Horticulture & Potatoes Board said, “This is welcome and positive news and something that the NFU along with the industry has worked hard to secure all year. While this announcement is a significant step forward, we know that this will not meet the sector’s entire seasonal workforce need and we are working hard to find solutions to this extremely urgent issue.”
Growers interested in joining the scheme can register their details as a “Labour User” on the Pro- Force website http://pro-force.co.uk/seasonal-worker-pilot/