On Friday 1st October, we attended two Defra led sessions on the Poultry and HGV Temporary Visa Schemes. Please find below a summary of the key points briefed to us during those sessions.
Note, it was clear from the many questions posed, that despite the extremely tight deadlines, there are still areas to be ironed out. The BFFF will continue to press for clarity for our members, so please do not hesitate to contact us should you need our support.
- These temporary measures are a one-off and they will not be replicated in future years. Employers should consider how to make roles more attractive to domestic workers for the future.
- 5000 temporary visas are being made available for HGV drivers, of which 4700 will be available for the food sector (with the other 300 reserved for the HGV fuel sector). Note: companies must make sure applicants are qualified to drive HGVs in the UK.
- HGV visas will be valid for any roles that primarily deal with the transport of food to retail businesses in the run up to Christmas. Employers will be asked to demonstrate this in the recruitment process. Note: there was some discussion around where the line is drawn and what would qualify. It may be that some cases prove ‘marginal’.
- 5500 temporary visas are being made available for the poultry sector. This includes any occupation within the poultry sector and includes both on and off farm workplaces.
- It was clarified that poultry means all poultry and does not just mean turkey.
- The scheme will be delivered through the Seasonal Workers Pilot, and through the four operators listed below. These operators are licenced to sponsor the workers you put forward:
for poultry email: firstname.lastname@example.org
for HGV email: email@example.com
for poultry email: firstname.lastname@example.org
for HGV email: email@example.com
- We would recommend you make contact with the operator(s) now and start communicating your workforce needs as orders will be treated on a first come first served basis.
- Each operator will have their own pricing structure so it would be worthwhile comparing the four. To give you a guide, one industry representative has been quoted £700 for registration plus a fee of £500 per worker by one of the operators.
- Business enters into commercial agreement with operator for ‘x’ number of workers. Agreement covers all fees, T&Cs for employment and outlines responsibilities of employer and operator
- Operator acts as sponsor for temporary worker. Certificate of sponsorship assigned to prospective employee which can then be used to submit application for temporary (T5) visa.
- Prospective employee takes necessary steps to apply for visa, including online application and biometric data collection process. (Note: one industry representative indicated that there is currently up to a 4-week lead time to secure a biometric appointment).
- Application processed by UKVI and visa issued to employee (can take 15 working days but Government are looking at options to reduce this)
- Employee can enter the country under the terms of their V5 visa. Note: pre and post travel arrangements should be put in place by the employer or operator. EU, EEA, and Swiss Nationals will require a passport to travel.
- Expected Timelines:
|Begin your engagement with operators.
|Certificates of sponsorship allocated to employees. Visa processing begins.
|Expected arrivals of workers to begin.
|15th Nov (Poultry) and 1st Dec (HGV)
|Last date for workers employees to apply for visas
|31st Dec (Poultry) and 28th Feb ’22 (HGV)
|Date of expiry for visas
- Employers are expected to present a competitive package to workers covering costs and not passing charges back to the employee. You will need to consider visa and service charges, travel, accommodation, and other miscellaneous expenses.
We will continue to bring you updates as soon as we receive them. In the meantime, should you have any urgent queries do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com directly.