The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has welcomed the government’s decision to add 5,500 poultry workers to existing visa schemes, alongside HGV drivers.
The news follows the organisation’s letter earlier this month requesting emergency Covid-19 Recovery Visas for essential workers across the food and drink supply chain to help with recent shortages in the UK.
The letter was signed by 12 industry bodies, including the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), the Road Haulage Association (RHA), the British Poultry Council Limited and the NFU.
The moves has come as a surprise from the administration, which has been vocal about its desire to not relax the country’s tight post-Brexit immigration laws.
The group also announced that an unspecified number of HGV drivers have also been provided visas in order to alleviate the crippling shortage of 100,000 delivery drivers across the sector.
“Following our letter to the Prime Minister earlier this week, in which we asked him to urgently implement a Covid Recovery Visa to alleviate labour shortages, we welcome today’s announcement to add HGV drivers and poultry workers to existing visa schemes,” NFU vice president Tom Bradshaw said.
“We look forward to working with government on applying the scheme for poultry and, in particular, access for smaller producers.
“We will also continue to work with government to find solutions for the wider labour needs.”