A scheme should to be established to enable farms and rural businesses to keep employing workers from the EU and beyond, the CLA told Home Secretary.
An early commitment is needed from the Home Secretary to establish post-Brexit sector specific schemes for seasonal and skilled workers from the EU and beyond.
The CLA said the Government should ‘confirm’ the status of EU migrants already living in the UK to prevent uncertainty that could affect investments and job creation in the rural sector.
CLA president Ross Murray said workers from the EU play a ‘crucial role’ in rural economy as more than 30,000 permanent and 67,000 seasonal workers help keep shops and market stalls stocked with UK produce.
“Farms and other rural businesses need to know that after Brexit there will still be a flexible, skilled and secure workforce so they can plan for the future, invest in their businesses and secure or create their jobs. We are asking the Home Secretary to commit to establishing sector based schemes that will ensure opportunities for seasonal and skilled workers from both the UK and overseas if free movement on labour is removed,” said Mr Murray.
“This includes the introduction of a seasonal agricultural workers scheme post-Brexit enabling people to enter the UK for a specific job, for a set period of time without the right to remain afterwards. Similar schemes have worked well in the past in agriculture and will help farmers to keep producing the food we eat, to run viable businesses, and to continue creating job opportunities year in and year out. Similar schemes will be needed in other rural sectors such as tourism.”