The Seasonal Worker Interest Group today launches its call to action urging the next government to implement structural reforms to the Seasonal Worker Visa (SWV) scheme to better protect workers, who currently bear most of the risks embedded within the scheme.

The briefing argues that:

“The Seasonal Worker visa scheme requires wholesale reform – many of the issues for workers on the scheme are complex and interrelated, meaning it is not conducive to worker welfare to reform it on an incremental basis.”

It recommends primarily  that a future government

review the Seasonal Worker visa scheme in its entirety to uphold the rights of workers.”

Yet in the context of the SWV having been extended for a further five years it lists recommendations for reform to tackle the abuse and exploitation of workers:

“Principally, there is an urgent need for robust state-led rights protections, and monitoring and enforcement which rise to the challenges of this scheme and ensure accountability of private sector actors.”

These reforms tackle the following risks identified by the Worker Interest Group:

“Risks at the point of recruitment, such as deception, illegal fees and high debts

“risks in the UK, encompassing violations of employment rights, unsafe accommodation, insufficient provision of work, issues around use of piece rates and productivity targets, barriers to transferring employer; and

“a lack of effective complaints and labour rights enforcement mechanisms.”

The Worker Support Centre is a founding member of the Worker Interest Group and fully supports the recommendations laid out in the briefing. For comment contact Caroline Robinson,

You can download the full briefing below.