SEASONAL turkey workers recruited from abroad will no longer need to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival to the UK after the government issued a temporary exemption.

From 4 am on 17 November, seasonal poultry workers will be allowed to work during the 14-day quarantine period imposed on arrivals from most foreign countries.

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They will, however, have to form ‘cohorts’, which mean they only live and work with a small group of the same workers, and do not mix with other farm employees or the general public.

Defra said all workers that entered the country using this exemption would have to leave the UK by 31 December 2020.

Each year about 5,500 seasonal workers arrive to support turkey producers around the festive period.

Skilled work

Many will return to the same farm year after year, and the work requires skill to ensure the welfare of birds.

The NFU, Association of Independent Meat Suppliers and the British Poultry Council all lobbied hard for this exemption.

Environment secretary, George Eustice, said: “It’s essential that farmers and food producers get the support that they need at this busy time of year, so it is good news that seasonal workers will be able to get straight to work once they arrive in the country.

“The run-up to Christmas is particularly important for farmers and food producers who need more workers on their farms to meet the festive demand.”