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Entry Clearances: Agriculture

Volume 492: debated on Tuesday 19 May 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many temporary visas were issued for migrant agricultural workers in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08; and what estimate she has made of the number of such migrants who have overstayed their visas. (269159)

Work cards allocated to seasonal agricultural workers scheme Operators by UKBA were:

April 2006 to March 2007: 16,404

April 2007 to March 2008: 16,732

The figures quoted are not provided under National Statistics and have been derived from local management information and are therefore provisional and subject to change.

The scheme is restricted to Bulgarian and Romanian nationals only from 1 January 2008. Since 1 January 2007, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals have freedom of movement rights and are not required to leave the UK when their work card expires but must generally obtain further permission if they wish to recommence work.