The food and agriculture sector has called for a new 12-month CV-19 rehabilitation visa to address the current shortage of manpower across the supply chain.
In a new industry report released today (August 27), he warned that the shortage would significantly increase food costs.
The report, which was sent to ministers, said the epidemic and the UK’s British immigration policy were affecting the ability to recruit key staff.
It averages 13 percent vacancies and has more than 500,000 vacancies in the food and beverage business.
The report outlines ways in which the government can overcome the current challenges to ensure the sustainability, quality and choice of food supply in the UK, both in the short and medium term.
These include the introduction of VV Rehabilitation Visas, which enable all those involved in the supply chain to hire key players such as HVV drivers in a short-term response to staff shortages.
It also requires the UK’s commitment to sustainable, improved and expanded workforce to ensure that the industry is flexible and large enough to meet the labor needs of the industry.
And an urgent review is needed by the MAC, which is halting free movement in the food and agriculture sectors, the report said.
According to NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw, businesses in the supply chain are “feeling the effects” of the shortage of manpower.
“Fruit and vegetable farms are struggling to find manpower to pick and pack the country’s fruits and vegetables. Some labor providers have seen a 34% shortfall in recruitment,” he said.
Agricultural businesses have done their best to hire domestic workers, but even the growing competitive wages have had little impact because labor is limited – only increasing production costs.
“It is easy to argue that the end of the conflict will see many more people meet this shortage, but not in retreated urban areas where there are many agricultural food roles.
The solution to this crisis is to have the right people with the right skills and training in rural areas with many roles.
Mr. Bradishaw said a short-term CV rehabilitation visa, along with a regular staff program, would be an effective and crucial way to meet the needs of the industry.
It also provides time for the sector to invest in domestic labor and recruitment, which provides long-term stability.
Ian Wright, CEO of the Food and Beverage Federation, said in a “Crystal Clear” report that the current shortages were caused by a number of structural factors beyond VV-19 and beyond the end of the Brexit transition.
The recommendations in this report include measures to support COV visa and in-house training and skills development, as well as highly practical solutions for industry and government.
“They make sure that the food supply chain continues to operate with a strong and trained workforce,” Mr Wright said.
The report was produced by Grant Torton on behalf of groups such as the Confederation of Agricultural Industries, the dairy UK, the National Pig Association, the Roads Association and the British Poultry Council.