Abattoir workers to be classed as ‘skilled’ in new points based immigration system

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Within two days of the UK Government announcing its plans to control migration it has  had to quickly row back on its  proposals by allowing a new range of jobs to be classified as skilled.

This follows a furore, particularly in Scotland, over the potential loss of key workers.

A range of bodies representing the food and farming sector including NFU Scotland, The Scottish Seafood Association, the Scottish Meat Wholesalers Association and the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers have all warned in recent days of the dire threat to businesses if they are deprived of migrant labour.

SAMW claimed 75 per cent of abattoir workers in Scottish plants were from EU countries.

Writing in this morning’s (Feb 21) Herald newspaper Scottish Secretary Alister Jack highlighted a so-far-unseen list produced by the Migration Advisory Committee.

He said: “It shows which jobs will be included in our new definition of ’skilled’ which is set roughly at the equivalent of Highers.

In agriculture, they include dairy workers who operate milking machines. As a farmer myself I know just how skilled those jobs are.

“Butchers and slaughtermen working in abattoirs are also included. In the fishing industry, not just trawler skippers but mates and share fishermen – experienced crew members – are all classed as skilled. So are fishmongers, fish filleters and fish processors.

“For all those jobs, and many more, employers will be able to recruit workers from overseas.”

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