AQO 275/17-22 – Immigration and Seasonal Workers in Agri-Food Sector

Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, in relation to the proposed Points-Based System and Salary Thresholds for Immigration, for his assessment of the impact it may have on the supply of seasonal workers in the agri-food industry.

Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs: The UK’s Points Based System will come into effect on the 1st January 2021 to coincide with the end of the transition period and hence freedom of movement with the EU. This system will not feature a route for low skilled migrants to come to the UK to work.

Migrants must have an offer of employment in a role considered sufficiently skilled to be eligible to apply to enter the UK. This will make it difficult for the NI agri-food industry to source seasonal labour as the roles are primarily low skilled in terms of academic qualifications and there is a significant reliance on migrant labour.