The poultry industry has sufficient workers for the crucial Christmas period, the British Poultry Council said, partly due to the visa scheme that was introduced by Government following significant lobbying earlier this autumn.
In September it was announced 5,500 poultry workers from the EU would be able to work in the UK ahead of Christmas 2021. There were concerns that new post-Brexit immigration rules combined with the impact of the pandemic had led to a record number of food manufacturing staff returning to their home countries, leaving poultry processing plants with huge labour shortages.
The BPC said around half of these visas had now been taken up, which in combination with a simplified range of poultry lines, would be enough to ensure businesses could cope this season.
BPC Chief Executive Richard Griffiths said: “The workers coming into the UK on Christmas poultry visas are boosting our seasonal workforce and mean that producers both large and small now have sufficient numbers of people. It has been an incredibly difficult year for poultry producers but they are determined to provide, as always, the centrepiece of the Christmas dinner table. There are enough turkeys in the country for the festive season and we are grateful to Government for helping us get the extra workers we desperately needed to help process them. However, this cannot be a one-off otherwise we will find ourselves in an equally difficult situation this time next year.”