A reassurance is being sought by the U.K. food and farming industry from the government about its continued ability to hire enough employees form the Eu even after Brexit.
This was amongst the major demands that formed a part of a manifesto that has been compiled by over 100 organizations throughout the industry and which has been sent to the prime minister.
The organizations have also urged that the government should come out with its plans on immigration “as a matter of priority”
The companies in the food and farming segment would be allowed to recruit employees form the EU till December 2020, said a government spokesperson.
Concerns about the potential impact on agricultural labor by the UK leaving the European Union have been earlier expressed by the companies and firms in the food and farming industry. they have claimed that such a labor market is often short-term, flexible and seasonal.
The issue of a scheme for seasonal agricultural workers following the departure of the UK from the EU in 2019 was “compelling”, UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove has said earlier this year.
the National Farmers’ Union president Minette Batters had sent the manifesto of the Food and Supply Chain to the Prime Minister Theresa May.
The manifesto said that it was critical that the government “ensures a continuing, adequate supply of permanent and seasonal labour” prior and after the UK departs the single market of the EU in March 2019 because of the “significant number” of EU nationals who are employed in the farming and agricultural sector.
The document noted that any problems in recruitment from within the UK means that the government needed to assure that “in the short- to medium-term, the industry has access to the overseas labour market to help meet its recruitment needs”.
There were other issues that were raised by the organization that comprises of the farmers and their suppliers as well as manufacturers and retailers in the memorandum to the prime minister. Those included maintaining “frictionless” trade with the EU and the development of an agriculture policy that fosters food production while the existing high standards are also maintained. The memorandum also urged the government to ensure an “efficient and proportionate” regulatory system for the industry.
NFU president Ms Batters said if there is a failure of addressing the need for the UK food producers following Brexit “will be bad for the country’s landscape, the economy and, critically, our society”.
She added: “The signatories to this manifesto will be looking to government to ensure its objectives are aligned with ours, to ensure British food production – something of which every person in this country enjoys the benefits – gets the best possible deal post-Brexit.”
In response to the manifesto, a government spokesperson said: “We have been clear that up until December 2020, employers in the agricultural and food processing sectors will be free to recruit EU citizens to fill vacancies and those arriving to work will be able to stay in the UK afterwards.
“We are determined to get the best deal for the UK in our EU negotiations, not least for our world-leading food and farming industry which is a key part of our economic success.
(Adapted from BBC.com)