SEASONAL WORKER Scheme
On the 5th May 2021 fruitful Jobs ltd was appointed an operator of the seasonal worker pilot scheme
Dec 2022; The scheme has been confirmed for 2023, and has increased to 45k workers spilt between the 5 operators. Ornamental Horticulture remains part of the scheme. We are waiting for confirmation from the Home Office on additional changes to the scheme for 2023.
The SWP scheme was introduced in 2019 as a test pilot, originally run by two operators, the Home Office decided to extend the scheme into 2021, increasing the number of work permits to 30,000 and increasing the number of scheme Operators to four. It was further extended at the end of 2022, bringing in new operators and increasing the number of visas for the 2023 year.
Under the scheme the operators act as sponsors under the immigration framework (tier 5).
The scheme allows for the supply of workers to the edible horticultural sector, which is defined by Defra as:
- Protected Vegetables (glasshouse production)
- Field Vegetables (outside production including herbs, leafy salads and potatoes)
- Soft Fruits (outdoor and covered)
- Top Fruits
- Vines and Bines (hops and Grapes)
The visa is for a maximum period of 6 months and workers can only be in the UK on the visa once in 12 months - there must be clear break of 6 months between visas.
The activities covered by the Pilot are:
- Picker - Manual harvesting of crops (may include rig work / hand tools)
- Crop maintenance and husbandry; planting, weeding, de-leafing, pruning, bud rubbing, thinning, tying down and any aspects related to crop health.
- Tunnel worker - construction / skinning of crop protection, venting and maintenance, preparing growing areas / tabletop systems / raised beds/ installing and removing growing media / dismantling.
- Irrigation worker - installation and maintenance.
- Packhouse worker - packing and processing of crops, labelling, sorting, grading and loading.
- Tractor driving - seasonal requirements for primary production (mowing/spraying/harvest/carting).
- Seasonal Supervisor - leading teams to ensure efficiency, training and motivation.