23 June 2000
Regulate overseas workers, says farmer

AN Essex farmer is calling for a regulated system to bring overseas workers to Britain to work on a seasonal basis.

William Hudson, of Mayfields Farm, Ardleigh, near Colchester, believes migrant workers are vital to many businesses, including his own strawberry farm.

He spoke out after a BBC Panorama programme on Monday (19 June) revealed that many overseas workers are exploited by gangmasters.

Mr Hudson said migrant workers were vital to businesses such as his own if they were to expand and meet renewed supermarket demand for British produce.

He uses overseas workers, including asylum seekers, but pays them a “proper” wage – in line with the agricultural minimum.

Introducing a temporary visa system for controlling the use of migrant workers would prevent exploitation where it is occurring, said Mr Hudson.