Today, FLEX launches Assessment of the Risks of Human Trafficking for Forced Labour on the UK Seasonal Workers Pilot, a FLEX and Fife Migrants Forum report that provides unique independent evidence of worker experiences on the Seasonal Workers Pilot (SWP) in the UK.
The SWP, a Tier 5 temporary immigration route to bring workers from outside the European Union to work on UK farms, was launched by the UK Government in April 2019. The pilot is targeted at the UK horticultural sector and it seeks to respond to concerns about labour shortages during the peak harvest period, particularly following the end of free movement for EU citizens. In its second year, the SWP was expanded from 2,500 to 10,000 workers. In its third and current year, and with the end of free movement, the quota was extended to 30,000 and opened to workers from EU countries.
Temporary migration programmes, such as the SWP, are associated with increased risks of labour abuse and exploitation. The widely recognised risks associated with temporary migration programmes include:
- Debt bondage due to upfront migration costs and illegal recruitment fees
- Deception in recruitment
- Barriers to changing jobs or sectors
- Temporariness and lack of pathways to permanent residence
- Multiple dependencies
- No recourse to public funds
- Barriers to accessing justice
- Lack of guaranteed working hours
Read more here.