Minister signals return of seasonal agricultural workers scheme

The UK agricultural industry should still have good access to EU migrant labour post-Brexit, says UK government minister David Mundell.

Mr Mundell, who is secretary of state for Scotland and MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale, said the needs of farming and agri-business were “well understood” in Westminster.

“There will obviously have to be a seasonal worker scheme, such as the one that previously existed.”

David Mundell, secretary of state for Scotland

Speaking to delegates at the NFU Scotland conference in Perth, Mr Mundell suggested the Westminster government would introduce a scheme allowing overseas farm workers into the UK.

Those workers already here should be allowed to stay, he added.

A previous Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) was abolished in 2013 when workers from the eastern EU were given full permission to work in the UK.

The NFU says a replacement scheme is vital to secure enough seasonal labour for agriculture whether or not immigration is curbed when the UK leaves the EU.

About 22,000 Romanians and Bulgarians were employed each year under the old SAWS scheme.

Source: Farmers Weekly

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