The Bishop of Southwark received the following written answer on 29th November 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the seasonal workers’ scheme.
[This answer is a correction from the original answer.]
Lord Callanan: The Seasonal Worker visa route was specifically designed to support the horticulture sector in the United Kingdom where growers typically require higher volumes of labour, for relatively short-term periods of time, in line with seasonal production peaks.
As announced on 24 December 2021, the Seasonal Worker visa route will continue to operate until at least the end of 2024. A total of 40,000 visas are available in 2022, of which 38,000 were for horticulture with the remaining 2,000 allocated to poultry workers in the run up to Christmas. HM Government is carefully considering the position on visa quotas for 2023 and we will say more in due course.
HM Government closely monitors the Seasonal Worker visa route to ensure its effective operation, and works closely with industry to make sure that the workforce requirements for the food and farming sector are understood across government.
Over recent months the Government, predominantly through the Department for Transport and Defra, has had a sustained dialogue with haulage companies and other organisations involved in the goods supply chain, as well as ministers and officials in the Devolved Administrations. This has included ministerial and industry roundtables, industry summits and tailored workshops.
Through this dialogue, we have been able to strengthen communication between government and industry and discuss issues and solutions, on a range of matters that have the potential to cause disruption to UK supply networks, especially with regard to the supply of food. This includes logistics issues at ports of entry for goods entering the UK, labour shortages across the supply chain (particularly lorry drivers), and the domestic supply of carbon dioxide.