Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme
This section explains what the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) is, and how Bulgarian and Romanian nationals can apply to work in the UK under the scheme. It also contains information for UK farmers and growers who want to employ seasonal workers.
The SAWS is designed to allow farmers and growers in the UK to recruit low-skilled overseas workers to do short-term agricultural work. The scheme works on a quota basis. Farmers and growers who participate in the scheme can employ a fixed number of overseas workers though the scheme each year. In 2012 and 2013 the quota is 21,250 places.
To be able to apply to come to the UK under the SAWS, you must be a national of Bulgaria or Romania. If your application is successful, you will get a work card which gives you permission to work in the UK. You will be allowed to work here under the scheme for a maximum of 6 months.
The scheme is managed by 9 approved operators on our behalf. We issue a fixed number of work cards to operators each year. When these work cards have been issued to workers, the scheme will be closed for the year and no more applications will be accepted.
SAWS workers can do low-skilled work including:
- planting and gathering crops;
- on-farm processing and packing of crops; and
- handling livestock.
Workers will be paid at least the Agricultural Minimum Wage and will be provided with accommodation by the farmer or grower who employs them.
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