UK announces 45000 seasonal agricultural worker visas despite anti-Immigration campaigns

LONDON(a1tv news) In what surprised many political observers, the UK government promised to award 45,000 visas for seasonal workers in the agricultural sector next year.

The announcement was made on Tuesday despite calls from within the ruling Conservative party to discourage and reduce immigration. Official figures on immigration are expected on May 25th but British media says net migration is expected to hit a record high this year.

A day earlier, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said at a conference that there was “no good reason” Britain cannot train its own lorry drivers and fruit pickers to cut immigration. 

Despite such a stance, Downing Street seems to go contrary and defended the decision to grant the visas again.

A spokesman said the current rules “provide us the flexibility to flex the system depending on UK need,” adding that Britain has a “historically low” unemployment rate.

The announcement of the visa allocation coincides with a new package of measures to support the farming industry and the government is also vowing to help the farmers who have had a hard time tackling soaring costs.

The British agriculture ecosystem has traditionally relied on EU member states to thrive but tougher immigration rules and Brexit have made it difficult to hire workers from the bloc.

The government seems to be pushing the agenda forward while providing succor to the farmers and said on Tuesday it will give farmers greater protections in future trade deals and prioritize new export opportunities.

“British farming and British produce simply cannot be an afterthought. I know that is how some of you felt in the past,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in an open letter to British farmers.

While the government at one end is announcing visas for seasonal agriculture workers, it is also exploring plans to prevent family members from joining foreign masters students at the country’s universities.

Three of the departments, the United Kingdom’s Department of Education, Home Office and Treasury are currently discussing the plan to stop dependents from traveling with masters students for one-year courses. If the plans to curb family members joining the students are materialized, students from India and Nigeria would be affected largely. 

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