Responding to the Home Office’s clarification on its immigration policy post-Brexit which reopens a temporary route of 14 months for employers to recruit EU nationals both seasonally and permanently after 31 October 2019, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.NFU President Minette Batters said: “Farmers and growers across the country will be relieved to have much-needed certainty on how they will recruit workers from the EU after 31 October, as the Home Office clarifies its post-Brexit immigration policy.
“I heard from alarmed farm businesses across the country who feared ending freedom of movement immediately after Brexit would cut off a critical supply of people coming to work in essential roles across British food and farming, causing untold impacts on farm and the supply chain.
“The NFU raised these concerns at two meetings with the Home Secretary in recent weeks, and it is welcome news that we have been heard and businesses now have much-needed clarity.
“However, questions still remain about the UK’s future immigration policy and it is essential that this is fit for purpose and based on business need, reflecting the importance of both permanent and seasonal workers to the industry.
“Fruit, veg and flower growers are still seeing a tightening of the seasonal labour supply and we are continuing to ask Government to expand the number of permits in its seasonal workers pilot scheme, in preparation for a transition to a fully functioning scheme in 2021.
“It is vital the Government recognises the importance of overseas workers coming to work in the UK, helping to deliver the safe, traceable and affordable food to the nation.”