Theresa May Reveals FIRST post-Brexit immigration plans

Theresa May will re-launch the non-EU farmer scheme to meet the post-Brexit demands

THERESA MAY will re-launch the non-EU workers scheme, after axing it five years ago, to meet the post-Brexit demands for fruit pickers, Whitehall sources have revealed.
The scheme, which allows 2,500 non-EU workers to register for seasonal work, will effectively be the first post-Brexit immigration plan put forward by the Government.

It comes after farmers have been increasingly pressuring Theresa May to relax VISA rules to ensure British farms are able to recruit seasonal workers in the face of a post-Brexit labour shortage.

The farming industry employs 67,000 seasonal workers, with 95 percent coming from countries in the trade bloc under the right of freedom of movement.

Scottish Conservative MP for Angus, Kirstene Hair, called for a change to immigration rules for fishermen and fruit pickers in March.

In her constituency, Angus, more than 30 percent of Scotland’s soft fruit is grown.

She told the House of Commons: “Without sufficient farm workers, crops are left to rot in the field — a scene that was, unfortunately, witnessed last year.

“Some farmers, for the first time, had to watch their wonderful premium produce waste away in the fields, as the workforce had dispersed by late in the season.”

The President of the National Farmer’s Union, Minette Batters, welcomed the move and hailed it as a victory for the union.

The farming industry employs 67,000 seasonal workers, with 95 percent from the trade bloc

She told the Financial Times: “Farmers and growers have seen worker availability tighten significantly in recent years, with the shortfall so far this year reaching 10 per cent.

“Growers will take great confidence in knowing that they will have access to workers for the 2019 harvest, during what have been extremely testing and uncertain times for the sector.”

Tej Parikh, a senior economist at the Institute of Directors, also welcomed the re-launch, as he claimed seasonal workers “play a vital role in the UK’s agricultural sector”.

He added in an interview with the newspaper: “It is encouraging to see the government recognising this, and considering what steps it must take to ensure people from overseas can continue to contribute to firms in this field.”
The farming industry employs 67,000 seasonal workers, with 95 percent from the trade bloc

The non-EU farmer scheme was scrapped by Mrs May when she was Home Secretary following growing fears that it could result in a surge in migrants, as workers from Romania and Bulgaria gained the automatic right to work in the UK in 2014.

However, official figures show EU migration has fallen to the lowest levels in six years.

While 226,000 EU citizens arrived in the UK in the year leading up to March 2018, 138,000 decided to leave.
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