Seasonal Worker Visa: Call for evidence

Legal Updates | News

The organisation ATLEU is bringing a legal challenge to the government’s Seasonal Worker Visa scheme. 
ATLEU is arguing that the Seasonal Worker Visa scheme breaches Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights: the prohibition of slavery and forced labour. It is the first challenge to the scheme and they are calling for evidence to support the case.

Keep reading to find out more.

What is the Seasonal Worker Visa?

The Seasonal Worker Visa is a visa that is issued to people working in the UK for short periods, for a maximum of 6 months. It is usually for agricultural work including picking fruit, vegetables, or flowers or working with animals. 

The Seasonal Worker Visa is not a route to settlement and you cannot bring dependants on this route. In order to apply for a Seasonal Worker Visa, you need to have a ‘Certificate of Sponsorship’ from an employer. You must pay the application fee, and the Immigration Health Surcharge. 

What are the risks of the Seasonal Worker Visa?

Because of the visa sponsorship system, workers on the Seasonal Worker Visa are often at risk of abuse by their employers. 

There have been reports of the following issues:

  • Workers being charged illegal recruitment fees, which is more than what is required
  • Workers being forced to pay back a ‘debt’ 
  • Unstable working hours and pay
  • Workers are dependant on their sponsor for accommodation, and are housed in unsanitary conditions
  • Experiencing discrimination in the workplace
  • Facing issues after raising complaints 
  • Lack of healthcare support

Call for evidence

If you, or someone you know has experienced issues on the Seasonal Worker Visa scheme, ATLEU would like to hear from you.

You can read more information about the clients in this case here, and the coverage in the Guardian here.

You can contact Jamila@atleu.org.uk or call 020 7700 7311 if you would like to submit evidence. The deadline for evidence is Wednesday 28 February 2024.

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