Brexit fears for Galloway’s farming industry

SNP South of Scotland MSP Emma Harper.
SNP South of Scotland MSP Emma Harper.

Galloway’s argicultural and horticultural industries face a serious shortage of seasonal workers if the UK government’s post-Brexit immigration policies are imposed on Scotland.

So said the area’s SNP MSP Emma Harper this week, agreeing with the Scottish Government’s external affairs minister Fiona Hyslop that the new restrictions would “catastrophic” and the number of workers allowed in from abroad would not even meet the needs of a region of Scotland never mind the whole United Kingdom.

Ms Harper claimed that the UK Government is planning to extend its world-wide visa conditions to include EU workers post-Brexit.

This would mean those coming to the UK would have to earn £30,000 or more to work here.

It follows an announcement last October that Home Secretary Sajid Javid plans to roll out an agricultural workers pilot, which would grant just 2,500 seasonal workers a temporary visa to work on UK farms.

She continued: “These are immigration proposals driven solely by Tory politics which will harm our public services, our agricultural sector and the economy.

“These policies do not signify a ‘global Britain’ but instead they are the sign of an inward-looking Tory government obsessed with a nonsensical net migration target.

“The flawed approach of linking skills to earnings means vital workers, such as those in our health service and agricultural sector, will be viewed by this Tory government as low-skilled.

“With the NHS, our farming communities and a number of other industries already facing staff shortages, the Tories must scrap the £30,000 threshold entirely – not kick it down the road to a consultation,” she added.