• Saturday, June 15, 2024
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UK extends seasonal worker visa program until 2029, offering 43,000 visas

The UK government announced extending the seasonal worker visa route until 2029 to address labor shortages in the food supply chain. Next year, 43,000 visas will be available for the horticulture sector, with an additional 2,000 visas for the poultry industry.

Further details on the number of visas available for 2026 to 2029 will be announced later this year. In response to John Shropshire’s Independent Review into Labour Shortages in the Food Supply Chain, the government will introduce several measures, including over £50 million in funding for new technology and a comprehensive strategy to enhance skills and attract domestic workers.

Read also: Here’s how to apply in 2024 for a UK seasonal worker visa

Steve Barclay, Environment Secretary, stated that the UK has a world-class food and drink industry, and the new changes will support this by increasing funding for cutting-edge technology, ultimately reducing reliance on migrant labor in the long term.

“Businesses do best when they can plan effectively for the future, which is why we’ve extended the seasonal worker visa route until 2029 to give farmers and growers the certainty they need to thrive,” Steve said.

The UK government revealed plans to enhance the industry’s appeal to domestic workers in a statement.

Read also: 4 UK visa options for Nigerians and others, without an employee letter

Initiatives include partnering with the Food and Drink Sector Council’s Attractiveness Project Group, offering seed funding for the Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture (TIAH), and collaborating with the Department for Work and Pensions to implement regional recruitment plans through its Jobcentre Plus network to equip jobseekers with necessary skills.

John Lamont, UK Government Minister for Scotland, expressed that the package of agriculture initiatives would provide long-term certainty for labor needs, aiming to position the UK food supply chain as the most cutting-edge globally.

“The extension of the seasonal worker visa route until 2029 is welcome news for Scotland’s growers and producers. While we will always support homegrown labor, we appreciate that the industry is still in need of extra help.” John emphasized.

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