Mid-Scotland and Fife MSPs, Murdo Fraser and Liz Smith, have welcomed news from the UK Government that a deal has been reached to offer seasonal farm workers who live outwith the EU temporary work visas.
The initiative will take place between spring 2019 and December 2020 in order to tackle labour shortages. This year there has been a shortage of labour in the fruit picking industry which has led to problems in Perth and Kinross and Fife.
Around 2,500 visas will be made available to workers for 6 months during the transition period as the UK exits the European Union.
Commenting Murdo Fraser MSP said;
“This is welcome news for farmers across Perth and Kinross and Fife and it demonstrates that the UK Government is not only listening to their concerns but is also acting on them.
“Kirstene Hair, my Conservative colleague, has worked hard on behalf of farmers in Angus to lobby the UK Government and her work will be hugely appreciated by fruit farmers in Mid-Scotland and Fife who have struggled to recruit labour this year.
“Fruit farming is incredibly important to the economy and this new visa scheme will hopefully prevent another year where farmers have struggled to find labour.”
Commenting Liz Smith MSP said;
“I have spoken to many farmers this summer who have experienced labour shortages and a temporary workers visa can prevent this from happening in future years.
“Fruit farming is a big part of the Perthshire economy and no-one wants to arrive at a stage where berries are left rotting in the fields as a result of labour shortages.
“Seasonal agricultural worker visas are not new but reintroducing them is the right thing to do and demonstrates how the UK Government is working for people in this region.”