Devastation Potential For Farmers
A Hampshire famer has warned that further restrictions on migrant workers coming to the UK could prove devastating for the farming industry.
In light of the government announcement that UK net migration hit a record high of 606,600 in 2022, Graham Collett of Westlands Farm Shop said that if restrictions of people coming to carry out vital work on farms were tightened, it could create significant difficulties for many businesses in the UK.
The international workforce is essential to businesses like Westlands Farm Shop because they rely on migrant workers to support them during peak times.
Graham added: “Since Brexit the number of people who come to the UK and work on farms has fallen which makes recruitment far more difficult. The British workforce is too thin on the ground to cover the sheer number of people needed in the farming and food industry.”
“Brits are not best suited to manual labour because we have not had a labour economy in the UK for several generations now. We haven’t raised, educated or trained manual labour workers and so we must rely on migrant workers to help us out.”
“Many native people look for permanent jobs and therefore seasonal work is not favoured by them. This is another reason why it is so important we must be able to recruit international workers to help us all year round, but particularly during peak times.”
Westlands Farm Shop which is run by Graham and his wife Kayleigh, harvests over 15 tonnes of soft fruit per week during the spring and summer season. Its farm shop team consists of 18 local people and 25 international workers from countries such as Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.
Graham continued: “Without international people arriving to work on farms across the UK, the farming and food system would collapse. It is critical that people realise this and separate legitimate forms of work from other immigration issues that are happening throughout the country.”