The Home Office and Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced on the 24 December 2021 that there would be an extension of the seasonal worker visa route till the end of 2024. This enables foreign workers to come to the UK to work in the horticultural sector for up to six months. There will be amendments made to the scheme as a result of the seasonal workers pilot 2019 review such as companies must pay workers minimum wage. The government will also require the horticultural sector to take steps to attract UK workers these include offering training, wage increases and career options. This is to cut the reliance on foreign labour. There will be 30,000 visas available next year but this will be kept under review with the potential to increase it by a further 10,000 visas if necessary. From 2023 the number of visas issued will decrease. The government remains committed to attracting more UK workers and DEFRA will be forwarding proposals on ways to support the horticultural sector.
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