- Overview of the Seasonal Worker Visa
- What Is the Eligibility Criteria for a Seasonal Worker?
- How Long Can I Stay in the UK On The Seasonal Work Visa?
- What Can I Do With a Seasonal Worker Visa?
- What Jobs Are Eligible on the Seasonal Worker Visa?
- How Do I Apply for Temporary Work – Seasonal Worker Visa?
- What Documents Do I Need to Apply?
- What Are the Fees and Processing Times?
- CoS Requirements
- Employer’s Requirements: Hiring Temporary Work – Seasonal Worker Visa
- How Can IAS Help with applying for a Seasonal Worker Visa
- Frequently Asked Questions
Overview of the Seasonal Worker Visa
The Seasonal Worker visa allows foreign seasonal workers to come to the UK temporarily and work in certain jobs.
The types of eligible work under this visa include the following:
- Horticulture, such as picking fruits, vegetables or flowers for up to 6 months
- Poultry from 18 October to 31 December (in the same year)
If you wish to work in poultry with this visa, you must apply by 15 November each year.
If you wish to work in horticulture with this visa, you can apply at any time of year.
This visa has replaced the Temporary Worker – Seasonal Worker visa (T5).
What is the Eligibility Criteria for the Seasonal Worker Visa?
To be eligible for the Seasonal Worker visa, you must:
- Be 18 or over when you apply
- Have a certificate of sponsorship from a Home Office-approved sponsor
- Plan to work in an eligible horticulture or poultry production job in the UK
- Have enough money to support yourself in the UK, which is usually at least £1,270 available (unless your employer can cover the costs of this for you)
- You must have had this money in your bank account for at least 28 consecutive days within the 31 day period prior to the date of application
- Pay the application fee
How Long Can I Stay in the UK on the Seasonal Worker Visa?
You will be able to stay in the UK for:
- Up to 6 months for horticulture work
- From 18 October to 31 December each year for poultry work
You will be able to enter the UK as soon as your visa is approved (up to 14 days before the start date of your job).
What Can I Do With a Seasonal Worker Visa?
With a Seasonal Worker visa, you will be allowed to:
- Work in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
- Study (you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate for some courses)
Note that you will not be allowed to:
- Take a permanent job
- Work in a second job or a job that isn’t described in your certificate of sponsorship
- Access public funds
- Bring family members with you
- Apply for permanent settlement in the UK
Eligible jobs include occupations growing the following:
- Protected vegetables – those grown in glasshouse systems
- Field vegetables – those grown outdoors, including vegetables, herbs, leafy salads and potatoes
- Soft fruit – those grown outdoors or under cover e.g. in glasshouses or polytunnels. Includes strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, blueberries and all ribes and rubus species
- Top fruit (orchard fruit) – trees that bear fruit e.g. apples, plums, cherries, apricots
- Vine and bines – both twining or climbing flexible stems of certain plants, e.g. hops and grapes
- Mushrooms – typically covers Agaricus Bisporus species but can also include more exotic species; normally grown indoors
- Bulbs and cut flowers, such as daffodils, grown outdoors and indoors
- Pot plants, such as seasonal bedding plants like pansies, violas, germaniums and poinsettias
- Hardy ornamental nursery stock such as Christmas trees, shrubs, roses, ornamental trees and perennials
- Tree and forest nurseries
Poultry Production Sector
Eligible jobs and occupation codes include the following:
- Butcher (occupation code 5431)
- Bird/game dresser (occupation code 5433)
- Killer and plucker (occupation code 5433)
- Plucker (occupation code 5433)
- Poulterer (occupation code 5433)
- Poultry processor (occupation code 5433)
- Poultry sticker (occupation code 5433)
- Trusser (occupation code 5433)
- Food operative (occupation code 8111)
- Poultry catcher/handler (occupation code 9111)
- Poultry vaccinator (occupation code 9119)
- Poultry meat packer (occupation code 9134)
How Do I Apply for Temporary Work – Seasonal Worker Visa??
You must apply for the Seasonal Worker visa online through the Gov.uk website.
When applying for this visa, you’ll have to fill in the application form with your personal information and upload the necessary supporting documents.
You’ll also have to prove your identity. This will either be done at a visa application centre, where you’ll also give your biometrics information, or the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document.
Which one you’ll have to do will depend on where you’re from and what type of passport you have.
If you need to attend a visa application centre, you’ll give your fingerprints and have a photograph taken of you for your biometric residence permit. In addition, the visa application centre may need to keep your passport and documents while they process your application.
What Documents Do I Need to Apply to the Seasonal Worker visa?
You will need to provide the following documents when applying for the Seasonal Worker visa:
- Your certificate of sponsorship reference number (you will be given this by your sponsor)
- A valid passport or other document that shows your identity and nationality
- Evidence that you have enough personal savings to support yourself in the UK, such as bank statements (unless your certificate of sponsorship shows your sponsor can support you)
You may be asked to provide additional documents after you apply.
You will also need to have a blank page in your passport to allow for your visa to be placed inside.
Note that you must also provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.
Temporary Work – Seasonal Worker Visa: What Are the Fees and Processing Times?
The Seasonal Worker visa costs £259 to obtain.
Once you’ve submitted your online application, proved your identity and supplied your supporting documents, you should receive a decision on your application within 3 weeks.
Note that you can only apply for your visa up to 3 months before your job’s start date. The job’s start date should be listed on your certificate of sponsorship.
Applicants for Temporary Work – Seasonal Worker Visa must obtain a certificate of sponsorship from a registered employer before they start working. The sponsoring employer must have an A-rated listing on the official Home Office register of licensed sponsors.
They must also be endorsed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and be licensed by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority.
The CoS must have been given to you no more than three months prior to the date on your Temporary Work – Seasonal Worker Visa application.
Employer's Requirements: Hiring Temporary Work – Seasonal Worker Visa
Before distributing a UK seasonal visa to temporary workers, employers must be a valid scheme operator endorsed by DEFRA and licensed by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority.
As an employer, you must ensure that your employees are monitored and cared for in a professional sense. For instance, as an employer you must provide:
- Safe work environment meeting Health and Safety standards.
- Fair treatment of workers without penalties for not meeting piece-rate targets.
- Employment contracts in both the worker’s first language and English, excluding zero-hours contracts.
- Proper payment in accordance with National Minimum Wage regulations, including fair piece-work rates and Holiday Pay.
- Allowance of time off and adequate breaks.
How Can IAS Help with applying for the Seasonal Worker visa?
The Seasonal Worker visa route is one of numerous temporary work visas offered by the UK government.
If you’re a foreign worker looking to come to the UK under the seasonal worker scheme, or you’re an employer looking to obtain Seasonal Worker visas for your business, IAS can help.
We are knowledgeable immigration lawyers specialising in both personal and business international immigration. We are experienced with working with both individuals and business or scheme operators to ensure that they can get the results and outcomes that they require.
Whether you’re a business who needs assistance obtaining a sponsor licence to sponsor foreign workers, an individual looking to come to the UK for temporary work, or just need to speak to an immigration lawyer for more information about your own specific circumstances, we can help.
Last modified on September 13th, 2023 at 1:59 pm
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As of 2022, you are no longer able to apply for a UK Seasonal Worker visa to work in pork butchery roles. The only two eligible occupation roles include as a horticulture worker or a poultry production worker.
As of the year 2022, the yearly quota for Seasonal Worker visa UK applicants is 40,000, with 38,000 places being allocated to horticulture, and 2,000 places being allocated to poultry production.
Note that these quotas may well change from year on year.
You will not be able to extend your Seasonal Worker visa beyond its initial period of validity.
Additionally, you will not be able to switch to a Seasonal Worker visa from inside the UK. If you’re in the UK on another type of visa and wish to switch to this visa, you will first have to leave the UK and submit an application from another country.
You must not be employed in any other type of work in the UK while on your Seasonal worker visa that is not on your sponsor licence. You will not be entitled to access public funds.
You may be able to study on the seasonal worker visa.