NFU Scotland is giving farm-based businesses and the agri-food sector more time to comment on the industry’s permanent and seasonal staffing needs.
A union survey on staffing issues, which had been approaching its conclusion, will now be extended until October 7. This is in response to the launch last week of a new consultation from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), which is designed to look at salary thresholds for migrants and a points-based (Australian) system for immigration.
“We are absolutely convinced that without non-UK workers, many farm-based businesses and the agri-food supply chain will be unproductive and unable to deliver food from farmgate to the plate for UK consumers,” said NFUS President, Andrew McCornick.
“Facts and figures will back up our lobbying effort on this and I urge anyone affected to complete our survey ahead of us submitting a response to the MAC consultation, which closes on November 5.
“The MAC is consulting on salary thresholds and how the Prime Minister’s preferred new points-based immigration system, such as the type used in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, could be applied in the UK context.
“NFUS has always been clear that the MAC’s previous proposal for all permanent staff coming into the UK to be working in a job that pays upwards of £30,000 is unworkable within the Scottish context and sets an arbitrary threshold with no basis in the reality of employment patterns within Scottish agriculture or food and drink processing.
“I am pleased that this is now open to review, but NFUS must be in a position to feed in the strongest possible evidence to ensure that any wage or skill thresholds that are applied within the UK Government’s new immigration system genuinely meets the needs of the Scottish agri-food labour market.
“Gaining facts through this survey will allow us to submit the strongest evidence for a differentiated proposal for workers in Scottish farming and agri-food.”