Environment Secretary Michael Gove has indicated that the UK government would support a special deal for EU farm workers post-Brexit. Mr Gove addressed the National Farming Union’s (NFU) annual conference saying that “agriculture needs access to foreign workers to remain productive and profitable.”
This comment was seconded by Meurig Raymond, NFU President, who claims that a “reliable workforce” is essential.
Mr Gove continued to say that many EU nationals working in British agriculture are highly skilled, for example 90% of UK abattoir vets are from Europe – and would be difficult to replace from within the UK alone. Therefore, access to temporary and permanent labour, should be a priority.
He also pointed out that UK farmers will be able to look further afield than just the EU when recruiting labour from overseas and recognised the “compelling arguments for a seasonal agricultural workers scheme” put forward by the NFU.