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What is the Seasonal Agricultural Workers' Scheme?

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The scheme allows workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to enter the United Kingdom to do seasonal agricultural work for farmers and growers. This work is low skilled and includes:

  • Planting and gathering crops;
  • On-farm processing and packing of crops (for example, salad vegetables, soft fruit, and flowers); and 
  • Handling livestock (for example, lambing and on-farm poultry processing).

You should be paid at least the national minimum wage for the work. You are also covered by the Agricultural Wages Order. In 2006 there are 16,250 places on the scheme. The scheme is run for the Home Office by Operators who recruit suitable people and place them on farms.

You can take part in the scheme for a minimum of five weeks and a maximum of six months at a time. You must leave the UK when your permission to stay is finished. You may apply for the scheme again after three months outside the UK if you continue to satisfy Home Office rules.

If you want to leave the scheme, you must leave the UK.

People who want to join the scheme must apply to the Operators. You can approach them directly, or through your university or college.