Short new statement of changes to implement widely reported short-term visas for seasonal workers
New statement of changes to the Immigration Rules to tackle shortage of poultry workers and HGV drivers
11 October 2021
A short new statement of changes to the Immigration Rules has been published today by the Home Office.
The statement is a mere 7 pages long and you can read it here.
In response to the widely reported shortages of workers in the food supply chain, the changes are being made to allow poultry workers and people undertaking haulage driving work involving transportation of food goods to come to the UK on the Seasonal Worker immigration route.
The changes come into force at 4pm today.
Guidance on how to recruit a poultry worker or HGV food driver with a temporary visa was published last week and can be accessed here.
The explanatory memorandum accompanying today's statement of changes notes: "Applications for the purposes of working in the poultry production sector must be made before 15 November 2021. This is so workers can be in the UK for a meaningful amount of time before their permission ends on 31 December 2021. Applications for the purposes of working in haulage driving involving transportation of food goods must be made before 1 December 2021. This is so workers can be in the UK for a meaningful amount of time before their permission ends on 28 February 2022."
The Government announced last month that 5,500 visas for poultry workers and 5,000 visas for HGV drivers (4,700 for food and 300 for fuel) would be issued.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said the short-term visas would not be enough to address the scale of the problem that has now developed in UK supply chains.
BCC President, Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, said the Government's announcement was "the equivalent of throwing a thimble of water on a bonfire" and called for a significant expansion of the number of visas.
Hannah Essex, the BCC's Co-Executive Director, added: "Whilst businesses will welcome that government is finally taking action, this scheme does not go far enough. BCC data has shown that 76% of hospitality businesses, and 82% of construction firms have faced recruitment difficulties in recent months. … Attempts to address the deficit of HGV drivers and poultry workers is a step forward, but these industries are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the huge impact of the current labour shortages."