The Nationwide Farmers’ Union Scotland (NFUS) has urged these within the horticultural sector to participate in its seasonal employee visa scheme evaluate.

Chair of NFUS’ horticulture working group, Iain Brown, is looking on all those that make use of seasonal labour to take part within the evaluate.

“Labour is crucial to the horticultural business in Scotland and most of those that are employed on our farms come from abroad,” Brown stated.

“Brexit modified the best way individuals had been recruited and made accessing seasonal migrant labour far more troublesome.

“The Covid pandemic and the tragic struggle in Ukraine made a difficult scenario recruiting seasonal workers a lot worse. Issues have improved, further visas made accessible beneath the scheme have helped, however there’s nonetheless quite a lot of room for enchancment.”

NFUS has been calling for a evaluate of the seasonal employees visa scheme and a evaluate, being performed by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), is now underway.

“Within the long-term, we’ll all the time have a necessity for seasonal labour, and we’d like ensures from the UK authorities that they may help this,” Brown stated.

“A scarcity of entry to seasonal employees would undoubtedly result in a big discount within the quantity of home-grown fruit and greens on our store cabinets, undermining the UK authorities’s personal ‘farm to fork’ technique and its ambitions to deal with meals safety.

“To help growers, we additionally want the size of visas to be elevated. And it must be simpler for employees to return to farms 12 months after 12 months, as lots of them want to do.”

A evaluate of the seasonal employee visa scheme, he stated, offers enchancment alternatives.

“I urge all those that require seasonal employees to finish this NFU Scotland survey and assist us safe enhancements.”