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Seasonal and migrant workers

There are different definitions of a migrant worker; we adopt that of "an individual who arrives in the host country either with a job to go to or with the intention of finding one",[1] sometimes also referred to as 'an economic migrant'. In Herefordshire this includes people from European countries such as Portugal and the newer accession states (for example Poland and Bulgaria). It also includes workers from countries further afield such as Southern Africa and the Philippines. Migrant workers are generally people who intend to stay in the UK for the medium to long term (at least a year), whereas seasonal workersare those who come to work on farms over the growing season and then return home.

Key points

  • There is still demand for migrant labour in Herefordshire that employers report would be difficult to fill from other sources. This includes several thousand temporary seasonal farm workers every spring or summer, mainly young men from Bulgaria, Romania and Poland. Most are accommodated on the farms where they work, and many return year after year. 
  • There is concern amongst local public services and employers about the impact of the end of transitional controls on migration from Bulgaria and Romania at the end of 2013, particularly the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme - see response to the Migration Advisory Committee's call for evidence.
  • During 2013, a total of 3,200 individual seasonal workers from overseas were expected to be employed on farms in Herefordshire. This is 16% (600 workers) lower than in 2012, but will have been affected by non-response from some farms.  Farms that responded in both years were expecting to employ 11% (400) fewer workers between them. The peak months were expected to be May and June  when 2,400 and 2,700 workers were expected respectively. Download report 

Seasonal and migrant workers in Herefordshire

There is no single estimate of the number of seasonal and migrant workers in Herefordshire.  The Intelligence Unit has in the past produced reports collating all the available information on seasonal and migrant workers in the county. The most recent was done in 2008, and can be downloaded from the box below below.

In addition, we conduct a survey to find out numbers of workers from overseas expected on farms in Herefordshire each year. The 2014 survey was sent out to farms late April 2014, and the full report of the findings of the survey can be downloaded from the box below

Other organisations have undertaken research into migrant and seasonal workers in Herefordshire:

Other sources

The following are links to some other useful sources of information about numbers of migrant and seasonal workers in the UK generally:

  • The Local Government Association does a lot of work around local migration; publications include a resource guide on local migration statistics and reports on the impacts of the recession on migrant labour.
  • The Institute for Public Policy Research has a continuous programme of research into migration. Recent reports include Migration and Rural Economies and Re-migration trends.

We are not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites. References or listings should not be taken as endorsement by Herefordshire Council of any kind. We cannot guarantee that these links will work all of the time and we have no control over the availability of linked pages.

[1.] Migrant Workers in Northern Ireland, Bell K, Jarman N & Lefebvre T, Institute for Conflict Research, June 2004.

Local reports


Last updated: Wednesday, August 22, 2018