The quota for the Seasonal Worker visa category announced for the next year

On 16 May 2023 the British Prime Minister announced a quota of 45,000 seasonal worker visas for 2024, “to give certainty to the horticulture sector next year, enabling them to plan ahead for the picking season”.

It is labelled as part of a larger package of support for British farmers. But as reported publicly, many of these migrant workers are accommodated in appalling conditions and exploited. A session of the House of Lords Horticulture Committee just last week heard extensive evidence of exploitation on the seasonal worker scheme.

In 2022 there were 38,000 visas available and a further 2,000 for poultry workers. With Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, the government said that the scheme would be extended until at least the end of 2024, but that the quota would be reduced to 30,000 in 2023 and 28,000 in 2024.

Another increase was announced in December 2022, with 45,000 visas announced for 2023 “with the potential to increase by a further 10,000 if necessary”. The 45,000 figure announced yesterday is, despite some of the rhetoric, not particularly new or exciting. The quota is being made available from earlier in the next year, though, which should apparently help some farmers with their daily business.

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