Salmon aquaculture sector calls for more immigration flexibility

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, has urged the UK government to add fish processing to its list of shortage occupations to make it easier for companies to recruit labor from the EU.

He said fish processing was suffering from a “squeeze” of labour, particularly in the farmed salmon sector.

In a letter to Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary George Eustice, Scott joined the chief executives of four other Scottish food and drink organizations in calling for the recommendations of a new report from Westminster’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee be implemented urgently. .

These include a recommendation for the UK government to work with industry leaders to address labor shortages and develop a long-term labor strategy.

The letter, signed by Salmon Scotland, Quality Meat Scotland, Seafood Scotland, Scotland Food & Drink and National Farmers Union Scotland, warned that the Scottish food and drink industry was suffering from a ‘serious shortage of labour’ work”.

The organizations wrote: “This labor issue affects the ability of our growers and manufacturers to serve customers both at home and abroad, limiting growth and hampering exports.

“The committee makes a number of recommendations, including a call for government to work with industry to address labor shortages and develop a new long-term strategy to improve the situation to coming years.

“We support the committee’s recommendations and call on you and your department to make the drastic change called for by MPs.

“Our members have the ability to thrive and help the country recover from both the long-term effects of Covid and the additional costs of Brexit caused by non-tariff barriers.

“But, to do that, we need adequate access to labor and that can only come with government help and support.”

Scott added: “Salmon Scotland is pleased to be part of this joint effort to seek more help from the government to alleviate the labor issues affecting the food and drink sector.

“Fish processing, particularly farmed salmon, is suffering from a labor shortage, and we want the government to help us by implementing the recommendations of the committee’s report.

“Salmon Scotland thinks fish processing should be added to the list of short-term occupations. This would make it much easier to recruit labor in the EU.

“We want to see more flexibility in UK immigration policy and a long-term strategy to alleviate this situation in the years to come.”

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