The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 14th November 2022:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what plans they have to grant more overseas workers permits for work in food production in the Lee Valley.
Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con): Our skills-based immigration system enables us to treat people from every part of the world equally. We have broadened the eligibility of Skilled Worker visas from graduate jobs only to include jobs skilled to RQF level 3 and lowered the salary threshold to £25,600, making more overseas worker eligible to enter the UK. There are already a range of occupations in the agri-food sector which are eligible under our immigration system, if English language and salary requirements are met. Our immigration system is not regional and therefore available to all employers (including those in the Lee Valley area).
The Seasonal Worker visa allows workers to come to the UK for up to six months to work in agriculture, enabling up to 38,000 people to enter the UK this year to work in horticulture. Additionally, on 18 October the route was expanded to enable 2,000 poultry workers to come to the UK to support that sector in the run up to Christmas.
Beyond the UK immigration system is the resident labour market, which includes UK workers and migrants with general work rights, who can all work without meeting Home Office requirements.
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