Hundreds of Ukrainians have escaped their seasonal agricultural jobs in the UK, with many stating they were subjected to “conditions of modern slavery”. A review carried about by DEFRA found that issues ranged from a lack of safety equipment to racism.
Unfortunately, the workers are not eligible for the two government schemes which were created to support Ukrainian refugees, and are unable to switch their visa to seek alternative employment.
There have been calls for a rule change to allow seasonal workers the right to remain in the UK, with the director of the Work Rights Centre explaining “The Home Office should acknowledge that the war in Ukraine is a humanitarian crisis, and offer protection to all Ukrainians in the UK, documented or otherwise”.
This particular situation has focused on the food chain, and the fragility of seasonal workers’ positions but it is undoubted that slavery exists in other sectors.
Could we be about to see the UK government change their legislation and better protect workers from abroad?