CategoryExample job titles
FarmersAgricultural contractor
Agricultural technician
Herd manager
Crofter (faring)
Horticultural tradesGrower
Nursey assistant (agriculture)
Market gardener
Fishmongers and poultry dressersButcher (fish, poultry)
Poultry processor
Filleter (fish)
Fish processor
Butcher’s assistant
Butchery manager
Master butcher
Agricultural and fishing trades not elsewhere classifiedAboricultural consultant
Bee farmer
Share fisherman
Trawler skipper
Tree surgeon
Managers and proprietors in agriculture and horticultureFarm manager
Farm owner
Nursery manager (horticulture)
Fishing and other elementary agriculture occupations nor elsewhere classifiedVent chick sexer
Deckhand on large fishing vessel (9m+)
(These jobs must require three of more years full-time experience)
Inspectors of standards and regulationsMeat hygiene inspector

Nevertheless visa sponsorship does come at a significant cost. Visa application fees can be as much as £9,500 (for a five-year visa) for a single worker and nearly £20,000 if a nuclear family of four were looking to relocate. All visa costs have to be paid upfront in advance. In addition, mandatory evidence of a worker’s minimum English language proficiency is also a requirement for visa sponsorship.

Additionally for businesses that have not previously navigated the UK immigration system, an extra administrative burden will also apply. The business must be registered as an approved and licensed immigration sponsor, which brings a regime of ongoing reporting and record keeping requirements.
Whilst these changes in the rules do offer significant benefits in comparison to the previous regime, little is offered to provide for temporary or seasonal workers or for the use of self-employed or freelance contractors.

In autumn 2021 the Government responded to industry concerns relating to securing the British food supply chain for Christmas. A temporary concession for poultry workers, butchers and HGV drivers of foods good vehicles was provided but with a proviso that the Government expected wholesale reforms to improve pay and working conditions to encourage job applicants. Despite a Government embargo on additional changes, further concessions and extensions were put in place, with visa extensions for the food supply chain now permitted until spring 2022.

It is expected that the Home Office will be monitoring applications made under these concessions, use of the allocated quotas and supply chain resilience to assess whether there is a case for long-term policy change. In particular, calls remain for the Government to formalise and make permanent the Seasonal Worker pilot scheme for the edible horticulture sector (which concluded in December 2021) and stakeholders from the ornamental horticultural sector are seeking inclusion under this route to protect their market prospects. With the pilot scheme offering sponsorship for 30,000 seasonal workers but DEFRA predicting a need for 50,000 workers per annum, further policy developments are expected to be necessary. Let us hope that the Government responds accordingly. 

For further information or immigration support for your workers and business please contact our team.

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