Seasonal Agricultural Worker's Scheme

Angus produces almost one third one of soft fruit in Scotland and plays an important role in our local economy. That’s why I have campaigned for the introduction of a Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme to ensure that food producers have access to the labour they need.

This year it was It was great to see the UK Government listen to my campaign and introduce a pilot of this scheme. I will continue to challenge the government to fully roll out this to support Angus food producers and monitor it to ensure it reflects the needs of the industry.

 

10th June 2019 - Today in Home Office Questions I asked the Secretary of State Sajid Javid to bring forward the review of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme into 2019. I'm please that he is considering doing so. This is vital for an one of Angus's most importnt sectors. 

 

1st May 2019 - I held a productive meeting with business leaders at the weekend on how future immigration policy can boost our economy. It was great to have the Home Secretary there to respond directly to Angus businesses such as Angus Soft Fruits and to provide an update on the seasonal workers pilot and future expansion. The government are working to deliver an immigration system that works for the whole of the UK, so if there are any businesses who have views on this matter please feel free to make contact with me, and I would be delighted to discuss with you.

Kirstene Hair MP meeting with the Home Secretary

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5th April 2019 - The UK Government recently launched a pilot version of a seasonal agricultural workers scheme. It’s a move that has been welcomed by producers here in Angus, such as Angus Soft Fruits because they know how important it is that we get this right. That’s why I met with them today – to discuss how we ensure this trial is a success so we can see it made permanent.

Kirstene Hair MP meeting with Angus Soft Fruits

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29th March 2019 - Representing Angus, I know how important it is for our agriculture sector to have access to labour, and that’s why I campaigned so hard for a seasonal agricultural workers scheme. I was pleased to see the initial stage – a pilot version of the scheme – launch recently, and the first workers are expected to arrive within the next few weeks. Now we must make sure the pilot is a success so that we can get the scheme fully rolled out across the UK and made permanent, and it was encouraging to hear the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs agree with me on that this week in Parliament. Watch below.

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22nd March 2019 - My campaign to introduce a seasonal workers programme for our soft fruit sector has taken another step forward this month with the pilot scheme now underway. It’s the first step in ensuring our soft fruit industry here in Angus can access the labour it needs to grow and prosper. I will continue to work with local farmers to monitor the scheme and will push for it to be made permanent.

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27th February 2019 - I met with the Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes today to get an update on measures to support Angus' vital soft fruit industry. We discussed both the UK Government's upcoming pilot of an agricultural workers scheme and how future immigration policy can help support a seasonal workforce for local producers. The pilot scheme will begin next month, and I will be monitoring its progress and continue to build the case for fully rolling it out as soon as possible.

Kirstene Hair meeting with Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes MP

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25th February 2019 - I have campaigned for a seasonal workers scheme to help our soft fruit sector here in Angus since I was first elected – the campaign paid off, and a trial will start in just a few weeks’ time. That is great news, of course, but today I asked for reassurance from the minister that they will continue to monitor the scheme once implemented to ensure industry needs are reflected. We should all be backing this pilot scheme as it is a very positive step in the right direction to safeguard our booming soft fruit and veg industries. Watch below.

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29th Janaury 2019 - The UK Government’s post-Brexit immigration system will give people from all over the world an equal opportunity to work in the UK – working with a bigger pool of talent than just the EU can only be good for British businesses. However, it must also take account of the need for seasonal labour that our agriculture sector depends on, and which is so important for Angus. I was pleased to see the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid recognise that in Parliament on Monday. Watch below.

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5th November 2018 - It was great to see the UK Government introduce a pilot seasonal agricultural workers scheme recently - a welcome first step to supporting Angus' soft fruit industry. I recently held discussions with the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, to get an update on the scheme and to press for it to be swiftly expanded if it proves successful. Rest assured, I will continue to fight Angus’ corner, and campaign for this seasonal workers scheme to be fully rolled out.

Kirstene Hair MP with Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP

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6th September 2018 - Fantastic news for our soft fruit industry in Angus today as the UK Government announced the implementation of a pilot seasonal agricultural workers scheme. Local growers have been calling for action, and I have been fighting their corner since I was elected. I am delighted that the Home Secretary Sajid Javid and the Environment Secretary Michael Gove have listened to their concerns and are taking action. The system will allow a flow of non-EU workers into the UK to support our soft fruit and vegetable businesses - which we all want to see prosper. Watch below.

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4th September 2018 - Over the summer, I met with representatives of the Angus soft fruit industry - they were clear that can not afford to keep waiting for a seasonal agricultural workers scheme. Today, I met with the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, to push for urgent action, and I will keep pushing until a solution is in place.

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7th August 2018 - Delighted to welcome the Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes to Angus to listen to the concerns of our soft fruit industry. I made sure the Minister understood the serious labour shortage growers face and that we need a seasonal workers scheme in place as soon as possible. It was very encouraging to see such a positive reaction from the Minister, and I will keep pushing until we see action to ensure this iconic British industry has a prosperous future ahead.

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20th July 2018 - I was out this morning speaking to James Porter at Angus Soft Fruits today discussing the ongoing issues around seasonal worker recruitment. I’ve been very clear since I was elected that we needed a seasonal workers scheme. Now that we’re halfway through the 2018 season, the lack of clarity is having a devastating impact on the industry. This isn’t a Brexit issue – EU countries such as Germany, Spain and Italy are facing identical issues and are increasingly recruiting their migrant labourers from non-EEA countries. The key thing now is for the Home Office to urgently set out a timescale for delivering a scheme that allows our vital soft fruit sector to thrive.

Kirstene Hair MP meeting James Porter at Angus Soft Fruits

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10th July 2018 - The soft fruit industry in Angus knows all too well the serious challenge it faces in recruiting seasonal workers. The simple fact is that without swift action, rotting crops will take an ever bigger toll on finances and put many businesses at risk. Today, I put it to the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, that producers in Angus, and across the UK, cannot afford to wait until 2021 for a solution – especially as this is an issue which has been ongoing since before the EU referendum - they need one now, and it was fantastic to hear him agree to engage with the industry to get that solution in place as soon as possible. Countries such as Germany, France, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Canada, US, New Zealand and Australia all have seasonal workers schemes and the UK needs to follow suit. Watch below.

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3rd July 2018 - Today, I asked if HM Treasury recognised the financial impact of seasonal labour shortages on our soft fruit sector in Angus and beyond. Pleased to hear confirmation that they are working with Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Home Office to explore reintroducing a seasonal worker scheme.‬ Watch below.

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4th June 2018 - I took the opportunity in parliament today to raise the point that as soft fruit farmers gear up for another season we still need clarity on how they will access the labour they need. While I was glad to welcome the new Home Secretary to Angus just a few weeks ago, I would urge him to make a decision urgently to deliver a seasonal workers scheme to make sure that farmers can plan properly for next season.

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29th March 2018 - I raised the issue of seasonal workers directly with the Home Secretary during the Home Affairs Committee meeting on Tuesday - we need urgent clarity in weeks and not months to keep our soft fruit sector growing.

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2nd March 2018 - Yesterday I took the issue of the declining seasonal migrant workforce to the House of Commons Chamber. Delighted to have cross party support for the re-introduction of SAWS which I will continue to push with the Home Secretary. Watch below.

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1st March - Today I took the urgent issue of a declining seasonal migrant workforce to the House of Commons Chamber. Listen to why I believe this is a matter we need to urgently address to safeguard Angus’ soft fruit industry. Watch below.

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5th February 2018 - I was delighted to welcome the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to Angus yesterday where we visited Angus Soft Fruits, Arbroath, to show Michael Gove first hand the importance of the soft fruit sector not just to our local community but the whole of Tayside. I am pleased that, during his visit, he committed to offering clarity on access to seasonal migrant workers by next month. This will allow a thriving industry to continue to grow and benefit our local and national economy. I have worked on this issue in Westminster since being elected last June and I will continue to work with colleagues from all parties to ensure that this great industry has the support it needs from the UK Government to deliver its continued success.

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9th Janaury 2018 - I have asked Home Secretary Amber Rudd about the development of a system allowing soft fruit farmers to access seasonal labour from overseas. Watch below.