Coronavirus: UK eases restrictions on foreign seasonal workers

Seasonal agricultural workers arriving in the UK will not have to self-isolate for 14 days, as long as they follow specific instructions, the government has announced.

Those travelling into the country to work on farms will be able to start immediately because of the importance of the work to safeguard our food supply.

It is estimated that 80,000 workers are needed on UK farms to ensure fruit and vegetables are picked on time this summer.

See also: Romanian workers start arriving to pick UK farm crops

Workers have been instructed to fill in a form with their journey, contact details and the address at the farm where they will work and live, as well as provide proof at UK border controls that they are arriving for farmwork, so do not have to self-isolate for the first 14 days.

The government has said workers must stay on the farm and are only allowed to leave in exceptional circumstances during the first 14 days. This includes health emergencies and getting essentials such as food or medicine if it cannot be delivered.

The government guidance also says workers should only use public transport to get to the farm if there is no other option, and not to travel to the UK if they have coronavirus symptoms.

It is part of new quarantine rules for people arriving in the UK from other countries.

The regulations introduce measures to collect contact, travel and address information from travellers.

They require all other international travellers arriving in England to self-isolate for 14 days, in the interests of public health due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Germany has also eased restrictions for seasonal farmworkers.

Agriculture minister Julia Kloeckner said from 16 June, seasonal workers from the EU will be allowed to enter the country to help harvest crops, but they will be instructed to follow strict hygiene rules.

The minister said it is in the national interest that farmers can keep harvesting and sowing.


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