NFUS launches new survey on importance of seasonal workers

NFU Scotland is urging its members to provide evidence to an ongoing review of the Seasonal Worker visa scheme being conducted by the independent Migration Advisory Committee.

The scheme secures around 6,000 seasonal workers each year for Scotland’s soft fruit and vegetable sectors, and the review, which launched in June, is seen as a great opportunity to improve the way it operates.

See also: Horticulture seasonal worker scheme extended to 45,000 visas

To make the task of gathering views easier, NFUS has set up an online survey through which members can share their experiences.

NFUS horticulture chairman Iain Brown said seasonal workers were “essential” to the horticultural industry in Scotland.

“A lack of access to seasonal workers would undoubtedly lead to a significant reduction in the amount of home-grown fruit and vegetables on our shop shelves,” he said.

“To assist growers, we need the length of visas to be increased, and it needs to be easier for workers to return to farms year after year, as many of them wish to do.

“A review of the Seasonal Worker visa scheme gives us the opportunity to influence and improve things. I urge all those who require seasonal workers to complete this NFU Scotland survey and help us secure improvements.”

The findings will be built into the NFUS response to the committee’s call for evidence, which is due to close on 19 September.