EU agricultural laborers are being hired without difficulty in visas or work permits, by Tim Stockwell, a Scottish farmer. But due to the shortage of labor because of Brexit uncertainty, Stockwell has decided to use non-EU migrants, mainly from Moldova and Ukraine with even attractive benefits like furnished houses and enough foods to encourage them.
Due to Brexit, Farms in the U. K. are struggling to gain workers to help harvest their crops. Last year, it was reported by most of the farmers that a lot of crops were left to rot due to insufficient laborers to harvest them. This amounted to £130,000 ($170,000) average loss per business. With Brexit Looming and immigration its key issue, Migrants workers fear their wages may decrease, or the UK will be less welcoming to them.
About 30,000 seasonal workers are employed on UK farms, with April to November the time for available work, and £320 paid weekly to workers. However, according to the National Farmers Union, there was a shortage of about 9,000 workers last year, and it may increase this year. As such, if all the crops cannot be harvested by farmers or they have to increase their attraction benefit financially, either the prices of fruits in the country will increase, or more imports will be relied on.
With the procedures for getting a non-EU worker being lengthy and difficult compared to hiring an EU worker, these workers may arrive later than usual, and this may result in crops not being harvested on time.
The uncertainty of Brexit is one of the issues causing this labor shortage. According to Lee Abbey, a potatoes Adviser at the NFU and chief horticulture, this has discouraged workers from coming to the country as they feel it may not be welcoming to them.
Another cause is the education prospects and improving employment in Eastern Europe which has caused many to lessen their desire to work abroad. According to the CEO of Concordia U. K. Ltd Stephanie Maurel, people now prefer moving to Erasmus in Italy (the European union’s university exchange program in Erasmus that provides eligible students with monthly stipends to ease their expenses at school), then choosing hard Labour in the UK for five to six months.
However, the British farmers still rely on lots of foreign workers who want to work on the field such as a Ukrainian student, Yelyzaveta Miadzelets who is a 21 year old and is working on a Scottish farm this summer under the pilot recruitment plan in the UK. She claims that even though earning is important, it’s more about the experience, cultural exchange before money to her.
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