Seasonal workers share experiences of UK farms in new video
6th June 2023
Seasonal workers from across the world have spoken about working on UK farms in a new video designed to increase awareness of employment rights for those arriving in the country for the first time.
The film is part of a package of measures to better protect and educate workers and ensure that their expectations of seasonal agricultural work are matched by the reality.
Workers discuss how they were recruited for the scheme and explain that they did not have to pay any job-finding fees before starting work.
They explain to viewers what a normal working day involves, how they are paid, their accommodation, and what they do in their spare time.
The video ends with workers giving advice to those coming to the UK on the scheme about what to expect.
Workers can watch the film in English, with versions subtitled into Bulgarian, Indonesian, Kazakh, Nepali, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Tajik, Ukrainian and Uzbek. The finished product is now being distributed by the sponsors to the countries in which they are recruiting this year.
The video was created by Pro-Force and has received ongoing support from the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) and the Work Rights Centre, an independent charity specialising in providing advice to migrant workers about their employment rights.
The GLAA has also teamed up with the operators to encourage the workers to download the Just Good Work mobile app to their smartphones.
More than 10,000 people so far have downloaded the app which provides workers with critical information and access to help at every stage of their recruitment and employment journey.
Advice, sector-wide information and signposting is available in 11 languages and the platform can be downloaded on both Apple and Android devices.
GLAA Head of Prevention and Partnerships Frank Hanson said: “We saw an opportunity to support the scheme operators and to build an alliance protecting workers and businesses against the threat of labour exploitation.
“Seasonal workers understandably have their own expectations about what working on farms in the UK will be like. In a small number of cases, those expectations are not met by reality.
“By creating a video in which they hear directly from seasonal workers of their own nationality, we hope that some of their key questions are answered before they decide to join the scheme.
“The Just Good Work app, along with other GLAA resources, will also give them extra reassurance once they arrive in the UK.”
James Mallick, Compliance and Implementation Director at Pro-Force, said: “Providing open source access to information is vital in helping migrant workers make informed choices. We hope this video helps achieve those aims and supports other worker education projects like the Just Good Work app and the work being done by the International Organisation for Migration.”
Dr Dora-Olivia Vicol, CEO of the Work Rights Centre, said: “As the number and diversity of seasonal workers is increasing, good information about workers' rights is more important than ever.
“It's great to see a resource that answers some of their most pressing concerns, and that sends a clear message that UK authorities, visa operators, and charities are there to support them.”
The Seasonal Workers Pilot was introduced by the government in 2019 to allow non-EU workers to come to the UK for up to six months to work in the horticultural sector. Workers can also apply for a visa to come and work in the poultry sector between October 18 and December 31.
The GLAA is not the lead agency but has accompanied UK Visas and Immigration on a number of visits over the last three years as the authority has extensive experience of inspecting accommodation and interviewing workers to check that their rights are being upheld.
45,000 visas have been made available for businesses this year.