Many of Britain’s fruit-picking businesses could close unless a new wave of migrant workers from outside Europe is allowed into the country, government advisers warned today.
In a report to Theresa May, the Home Office’s Migration Advisory Committee said that migrants from countries such as Ukraine could be needed to prevent home-grown fruit prices rising so high that supermarkets opt for imports. That could lead to historic orchards and fruit fields becoming arable.
The committee warned that Romanians and Bulgarians in fruit-picking jobs were likely to switch to other employment once restrictions on where they work are lifted at the end of this year. Under the seasonal agricultural workers scheme, 21,250 migrants from the two new EU countries have been allowed into the UK for six months at a time to do horticultural and food-processing jobs.