On the 19th December 2018 the Home Office published it's Immigration White Paper, setting out the future direction of immigration policy in the UK after we leave the EU in March 2019.

Leaving the EU will end free movement and ensure full control of the border. A new single immigration system has been designed based on skills and talent.

The new system includes:

  • a skilled workers route open to all nationalities
  • a new time-limited route for temporary short-term workers of all skill levels, including seasonal low-skilled workers
  • lowering the skills threshold on the skilled workers route, to include medium-skilled workers
  • no cap on numbers on the skilled workers route, meaning that business will be able to hire any suitable qualified migrant
  • the abolition of the resident labour market test
  • an extension to the post-study period for international students.

Of key interest to horticultural businesses is the fact that the time-limited route for seasonal low-skilled workers will allow all businesses to have the staff they need as the UK moves to the new immigration system and will also ensure they have the incentive to train young people in the future.

The 12-month visa will provide access to the labour market, but no access to benefits. People arriving on this route will not be able to bring family members with them, won’t accrue rights to settle in the UK and will have a 12-month cooling off period once their visa expires.

The Government says it will discuss these proposals with business as part of an extensive planned engagement programme with industry.

The Immigration White Paper can be read here and the Government's Press Release can be viewed here

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