• No visas for low-skilled workers – what impact will this have on food manufacturing?

    • February 2020

      A post-Brexit, immigration points-system has just been revealed by the UK government. Under the new scheme, low-skilled workers from the EU will not be eligible for working visas in the UK.

      Seasonal Workers

      Whilst the government has quadrupled the number of seasonal workers in agriculture to 10,000 post Brexit, what about food manufacturing where many companies rely on thousands of lower-paid and lower-skilled workers?

      National Farmers' Union president Minette Batters raised "serious concerns" about the "failure to recognise British food and farming's needs" and the Food and Drink Federation spoke of concerns about bakers, meat processors and workers making food like cheese and pasta not qualifying under the new system.

      The Government’s answer?

      The UK Government's solution to the issue is to adapt and adjust, invest in retaining staff and develop automation technology. Easy for them to say but how do you automate the care industry which relies on 840,000 foreign workers and where already almost 10% of jobs are unfilled?

      Fine, they want to attract higher talent, but they seem to forget that a buoyant and progressive economy relies on a range of people. What are Doctors, Civil Engineers and even Ballet Dancers going to eat if there’s nobody to manufacture their food or serve them in a restaurant?


      The new Government proposals on immigration have been widely criticised, including by numerous trade organisations who, by right, should know what they’re talking about!

      There are serious concerns about the impact on not just food manufacturing and agriculture, but across multiple industries.  The new plans are due to take effect from 1st January 2021.

      News Articles

      For further details about the new rules and the proposed points-based system:

      BBC News Article - Immigration: No visas for low-skilled workers, government says

      Food Manufacturer Article - Government faces backlash from food sector over immigration plans


    • Comments:
      • Mark Dean says:20th February 2020 08:03
        A lot of low paid jobs are actually quite skilled. The Tories call them low paid to make you think that they aren't really important!
      • Terri says:11th March 2020 15:17
        It is wrong that the government has set an amount as the acceptable salary. This doesn't take into account geographical variation. £20K is a good salary in north wales but low pay in London. why haven't they considered this and set a national earnings limit.
      * required
      * required (Will not be published)
      Your post has been sent for moderation and will appear once approved.