Pork industry ‘relieved’ as extra visas granted to foreign butchers

The sector has called for more action to solve the problem of labour shortages long-term
The sector has called for more action to solve the problem of labour shortages long-term

The government announced extra visas following warnings that up to 150,000 pigs could be killed as 'waste'

Published

There is “relief all round” in the pork industry after the Government announced an extra 800 visas for foreign butchers.

The sector has called for more action to solve the problem of labour shortages long-term.

Experts have attributed staff shortages in the industry to an “inherent lack of interest” from UK workers as it struggles to attract new recruits, they continued that many people find it “off-putting”.

The Government announced the extra visas on Thursday following warnings that up to 150,000 pigs could be killed as "waste" due to an increasing backlog of animals ready to be slaughtered.

Overseas pork butchers will be eligible to apply for six-month visas from the existing allocation in the Seasonal Workers Pilot Scheme up until December 31.

Mike Sheldon, pork sector board chair of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board Mike Sheldon, said the additional workers will make a “significant difference” to stretched workforces.

He continued: “It’s caused relief all round. I don’t think you’ll find any negative comment about it from within the industry at all.

“The situation was getting very real and very serious so we are relieved.

“It’s slightly muted because we were hoping for more than 800 and hoping for a longer period than six months, but it’s a significant move on the part of the Government for sure.

“You’ll have seen reports about the number of pigs being culled on farms and although it’s very difficult to see exactly what is happening, those numbers were going up.

“Almost any number that was announced would not be enough but 800 will make a difference, provided we can get them in quickly enough.

“On its own it won’t solve the problem but it will make a significant difference.

“This is an absolutely needed short-term help.

“I think the Government has done the right thing, one can always ask for more, but they have done the right thing.”