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Agriculture omitted from migration job shortage list

The NFU has expressed its disappointment that agriculture has been excluded from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) list of jobs in short supply that need to be filled by non-UK workers post-Brexit.

NFU president Minette Batters said the omission was “staggering” after the MAC’s Shortage Occupation List included roles such as artists and dance choreographers but ignored the decline in agricultural applicants from all skill levels.

During the consultation, which the NFU described as “poorly managed”, the union provided a range of critical jobs that many non-UK workers perform on farms at skilled levels, such as poultry technicians and dairy herdsmen.

Ms Batters said she was unhappy that during the consultation events, which were supposed to gather evidence on occupations in shortage across all skill levels, were arranged at 48-hours notice.

The MAC report did not look at unskilled roles, such as seasonal agricultural workers but for skilled agricultural positions, it said there “was not enough evidence to conclude that Brexit would have an impact”.

However, there was better news for the veterinary sector, as the MAC has recommended that vets should be added to the list.

Simon Doherty, British Veterinary Association president, said the recommendation was a “huge win for animal welfare and a resounding vote of confidence in the veterinary community and the multiple benefits it realises across the UK”.