UK Poultry Industry Will Use Only Half Of Emergency Visas For Foreign Workers As Illegal Migrant Crisis Deepens
UK Poultry Industry Will Use Only Half Of Emergency Visas For Foreign Workers, As Illegal Migrant Crisis Deepens
The UK poultry sector expects to use about half of the 5,500 emergency UK work visas announced by the government ahead of its busiest period of the year. With Christmas weeks away, turkey farms have cut production and recruited some workers locally, the FT reports.
Richard Griffiths, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, said producers expected to use about 2,500 to 3,000 short-term visas, mainly for workers from eastern Europe. Griffiths said the take-up of visas had fallen below the 5,500 made available as that figure was based on an estimate from the industry at the start of the year.
The poultry council had sounded the alarm following struggles with recruiting after Brexit cut off the flow of EU workers arriving under free movement. It said last month that British turkey farmers had raised about 1m fewer birds than usual in the face of labour shortages, with EU imports expected to make up the Christmas shortfall. Turkey producer Bernard Matthews is processing visa applications and expects temporary workers to join within three weeks, said a person briefed on the situation. Poultry producers have until November 15 to apply.
Chicken and Turkey prices will rise as inflation soars
Ranjit Boparan, founder of the UK’s largest chicken producer 2 Sisters Food Group, last month welcomed the visas but warned poultry prices would still rise. “Less labour means less choice, core ranges, empty shelves and wage inflation, and this isn’t going to change.”
Abattoirs were also allocated emergency visas after butcher shortages left surplus pigs on farms. They expect to use all 800 visas pledged to the sector to avoid mass culling, said Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association.
Producers are forced to sending meat abroad processing, and want longer-term access to overseas recruits, who they have struggled to bring in under the new points-based immigration regime.
Interest from the EU workers plus hurdles such as a requirement to provide accommodation are thought to have led to low uptake of the 5,000 three-month, trucker visas that the government announced in September to try to address a chronic shortfall in lorry drivers.
UK prime minister Boris Johnson said shortly after the scheme launched that only 27 tanker drivers had taken up an initial tranche of 300 visas, while the transport department said a further 100 had been taken up by the food and drink sector.
Since then, haulage and logistics groups said the government had not shared data. Duncan Buchanan, director of policy for the Road Haulage Association, said anecdotal evidence from members suggested take-up was low.
The so-called largely media-driven tanker driver crisis, which resulted in queues at petrol station last month has fizzled out. Warnings of Christmas food shortages by supermarket bosses, causing some to panic buy, failed to materialise as consumers ignored the hype. There was plenty of fuel and no empty shelves, but prices are rising.
UK Border Force refuse Home Office orders to turn back migrants crossing the English Channel
As 800 migrants a day cross the channel in small boats to gain illegal entry into the UK, border officials have defied Home Secretary Pritti Patel claiming it will lead to deaths.
The total number of men, women and children arriving from France exceeds 20,000 according to the Home Office.
Smugglers will soon be using much larger vessels capable of carrying 200 passengers across the 21 mile stretch of water separating Britain and France and one of the busiest sea lanes in the world.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants are marching from Africa and the Middle East into Europe and from South America to the U.S., bypassing legal immigration routes, to seek a better life.
The UK is in dispute with France over post-Brexit fishing rights and with the EU on the ongoing issue of the border between member state Irish Republic and Northern Ireland.
The Bank of England has indicated an interest rate rise in “coming months” to combat high inflation but held base rates.
At the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) on Thursday, policymakers voted 7-2 in favour of no change from the current record low rate of 0.1%.
The UK has resisted calls to hike rates amid market expectations of 4% inflation by the year end.
I would still expect rates to go up to 0.25% before too long to curb inflation in Europe and America where prices are rising by over 5% per annum.
Mortgages will become more expensive in the next few years, something younger borrowers have yet to experience.
US has started ‘tapering’ its $120 billion a month bond purchases by $10 billion, which could signal the end of the longest stock market bull run in recent history.
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