Britain’s biggest poultry producer is hiring 900 staff from abroad to ensure there are “enough turkeys to go around” this Christmas.
2 Sisters owner Ranjit Singh Boparan, known as the “Chicken King”, said the first workers would arrive under the government’s emergency visa scheme in the next few days.
“With just a few weeks to go until Christmas… we’re well on the way to plugging the job gaps for the massive volume increases we get during this time of year,” he told the Guardian.
“This means we should be able to fulfil all our projected orders for turkeys and there will be enough turkeys to go around.
“Everyone should be able to source their Christmas turkey this year.”
The news comes after Iceland developed an “insurance” scheme that guaranteed a turkey for the first 150,000 people to sign up.
Boparan’s farms and factories normally employ around 18,000, but at the moment are roughly 10 per cent short.
However, this is down from the 15 per cent shortage earlier in the year.
The government announced in September that 5500 poultry workers from overseas could come to Britain ahead of Christmas.
It brought in a visa programme amid concerns that the pandemic and Brexit had caused an exodus of poultry workers.
In August, Waitrose boss James Bailey said that half of the supermarket’s butchers had returned to Eastern Europe.
Boparan said he hoped that a visa scheme would be put in place for next year.
Last month, he claimed food was “too cheap” and that prices could rise by more than 10 per cent.