The NFU is resisting Government plans laid out in the Immigration White Paper, which impose a 12 month in, 12 month out policy, meaning farm workers would have to return home after a year in the UK.
Chairing the ‘cracking the labour nut’ seminar at NFU Conference, Ali Capper, NFU horticulture and potatoes board chairman said: “We are pushing back quite hard on this and we have a meeting later this morning with the Home Office, so I am looking forward to being able to discuss the issues the Immigration White Paper raises.”
Mrs Capper also said the NFU will make expanding the Seasonal Workers Pilot (SWP) scheme from 2,500 workers to 10,000 a priority this year.
She said: “While I was delighted when the Government announced the new scheme, 2,500 permits are not enough when you have shortages of 8-10,000, so the NFU has been asking for 2,500 to become 10,000.
“We will need to see significant increases next year regardless of what happens with Brexit and deal or no-deal. And assuming there is a deal and we exit the EU in 2020, we really will need this scheme to be fit for purpose.”