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Government seeks horticultural firms to run seasonal workers pilot scheme

PUBLISHED: 15:36 04 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:36 04 October 2018

Workers harvesting iceberg lettuce in the Fens.

Workers harvesting iceberg lettuce in the Fens.

G's Group

Horticultural firms interested in testing a proposed new seasonal workers scheme can apply to run one of two national pilots.

The availability of seasonal workers after Brexit has become a key concern for labour-intensive fruit and vegetable growing operations in areas including East Anglia.

The government is seeking applications from organisations interested in operating its Seasonal Workers Pilot for 2019 and 2020, which will enable “the recruitment of a limited number of temporary migrants for specific roles in the horticultural sector”.

The scheme will be managed by the Home Office but the two pilot operators will be selected by Defra, which has set some of the key parameters for the pilot. Minimum standards for potential pilot operators will include:

• Compliance with GLAA (Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority) regulations.

• Capability to provide pilot workers to growers and employers across the UK.

• Adequate systems, processes and policies to deliver the pilot to the standard required by the Home Office.

Full details can be found on the government website. Responses must be submitted by October 17.

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