Labour shortages have forced UK meat producers to send carcasses to the EU for butchering before re-importing them.
According to the BBC, the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) claimed producers were sending beef to the Republic of Ireland.
“It is what needs to be done to counteract the problem,” a spokesperson said.
Each lorry load of carcasses reportedly costs an extra £1500.
It comes after the culling of more than 10,000 pigs amid a shortfall of butchers and lack of abattoir capacity.
Staffing levels are thought to be at least 15 per cent lower than normal.
“Immigration rules need to be relaxed so we can get experienced people without having to train them, to help solve the immediate short-term problem,” the BMPA said.
“Then we need to be attracting, recruiting, and training people in the UK.
“This is not an instant fix, however, as we are looking at 18 months or longer to train these people.”
Last month, the government agreed to issue 800 six-month visas for foreign butchers.
However, Britain is thought to need at least 10,000 of these workers.
The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) declined to say how many applications they had received.
National Farmers Union vice president Tom Bradshaw said: “Farm businesses have done all they can to recruit staff domestically, but… the labour pool is so limited.”
“A short term Covid Recovery Visa, alongside a permanent Seasonal Workers Scheme, would be a… vital route to help the pressing needs of the industry today.
“It would also give us time to invest in the skills and recruitment of our domestic workforce.”