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In light of a new consultation from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), NFU Scotland is to extend the deadline for its survey on the importance of permanent and temporary non-UK workers.
A key goal of NFU Scotland is to ensure continued access to non-UK workers, both permanent and temporary, post-Brexit. It has a critical role in Scottish food and farming, filling seasonal, temporary and permanent positions and delivering high-quality Scottish produce from field to fork.
The survey launched at the start of September to gather information on the vital role of non-UK staff will now be extended to Monday October 7 considering the MAC consultation launched last week looking at salary thresholds for migrants and a points-based (Australian) system for immigration.
The survey is available to all online at: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/NFUSNonUKLabourUse
There are two sections, one each for non-seasonal and seasonal workers – those who come in the summer for harvest work. For permanent staff, the union is also keen to establish if non-UK workers have applied to the UK Government’s EU Settled Status Scheme.
On seasonal workers, the union is asking further question on the success or otherwise of the pilot Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS). The union has previously called for 70,000 SAWS permits to be made available.
President Andrew McCornick said: ‘We are absolutely convinced that without non-UK workers, many farm-based businesses and the agri-food supply chain will be unproductive and unable to deliver food from farmgate to the plate for UK consumers.
‘Facts and figures will back up our lobbying effort on this and I urge anyone affected to complete this short survey ahead of submitting our response to the most recent MAC consultation, which closes on 5 November.
‘The MAC is consulting on salary thresholds and how the Prime Minister’s preferred new points-based immigration system, such as the type used in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, could be applied in the UK context.
‘NFUS has always been clear that the MAC’s previous proposal for all permanent staff coming into the UK to be working in a job that pays upwards of £30,000 is unworkable within the Scottish context and sets an arbitrary threshold with no basis in the reality of employment patterns within Scottish agriculture or food and drink processing.
‘I am pleased that this is now open to review, but NFUS must be in a position to feed in the strongest possible evidence to ensure that any wage or skill thresholds that are applied within the UK Government’s new immigration system genuinely meets the needs of the Scottish agri-food labour market.
‘Gaining facts through this survey will allow us to submit the strongest evidence for a differentiated proposal for workers in Scottish farming and agri-food.’