Seasonal Worker Visa

The Temporary Work – Seasonal Worker Visa facilitates employment in the UK for individuals with job offers in seasonal horticulture or poultry production roles from approved scheme operators.

  • Seasonal horticulture workers can stay for up to six months in any 12-month period.
  • Poultry production workers can work between 2nd October and 31st December each year.
  • Not a pathway to settlement; no provision for dependent partners or children.

To qualify:


  • Age 18 or over.
  • Possess a valid Certificate of Sponsorship detailing the offered role, (if you are applying for a role in the poultry production sector, you must apply on or before 15 November each year);
  • Engage in eligible roles within horticulture or poultry production.
  • Demonstrate funds of at least £1,270 or have the employer cover expenses for the first month.
  • Pay visa application fees, Immigration Health Charge, and provide biometric information.
  • Not fall under the general grounds for refusal.

Horticulture Sector:

To qualify for a Seasonal Worker visa in horticulture, your role must involve cultivating specific types of produce:

  • Protected Vegetables: Cultivated in glasshouse systems.
  • Field Vegetables: Grown outdoors, encompassing vegetables, herbs, leafy salads, and potatoes.
  • Soft Fruit: Grown outdoors or under cover, including strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, and various rabes and rubus species.
  • Top Fruit (Orchard Fruit): Trees bearing fruit such as apples, plums, cherries, and apricots.
  • Vine and Bines: Flexible stems of plants like hops and grapes.
  • Mushrooms: Covers common species like Agaricus bisporus and exotic varieties, typically cultivated indoors.
  • Bulbs and Cut Flowers: Cultivated both outdoors and indoors, including daffodils.
  • Pot Plants: Seasonal bedding plants like pansies, violas, germaniums, and poinsettias.
  • Hardy Ornamental Nursery Stock: Encompasses Christmas trees, shrubs, roses, ornamental trees, and perennials.
  • Tree and Forest Nurseries: Involves nurturing trees for forestry purposes.


Poultry Production Sector:

For roles in poultry production, the following tasks are eligible for the Seasonal Worker visa:

  • Butcher
  • Bird/Game Dresser
  • Killer and Plucker
  • Plucker
  • Poulterer
  • Poultry Processor
  • Poultry Sticker
  • Trusser
  • Food Operative
  • Poultry Catcher/Handler
  • Poultry Vaccinator
  • Poultry Meat Packer

To acquire a Temporary Work – Seasonal Worker Visa, you must possess a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) specific to the intended role. Here are the key requirements:


Sponsor Eligibility:

  • The CoS must be issued by a sponsor listed as A-rated on the Home Office’s register of licensed sponsors.
  • The sponsor must hold an endorsement from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) regarding the Seasonal Worker route.
  • Additionally, the sponsor must be licensed by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority.


Validity and Timing:

  • The CoS should not be issued more than three months before the date of your Seasonal Worker visa application.
  • For roles in the poultry production sector, the application date on the CoS must be on or before 15th November each year.


Mandatory Information in the CoS:

  • Your name, job title, and salary details must be included.
  • The start date mentioned should be within three months after the visa application date.
  • Confirmation that the CoS has not been previously used in a granted, refused, withdrawn, or cancelled application.
  • Confirmation that the position complies with relevant legislation such as Agricultural Wages Order rates and Working Time Regulations.


Salary Confirmation:

  • The CoS must confirm the hourly rate and working hours according to your sponsored role:
  • For roles in horticulture or specific poultry production roles (e.g., food operative, poultry catcher), you must be paid at least £11.44 per hour with a minimum of 32 hours per week.
  • For other poultry production roles (e.g., butcher, poultry processor), the hourly rate must be at least £15.88, with an annual salary of £38,700.


Multiple Entry CoS:

Sponsors have the option to grant multiple entry CoS, allowing you to leave and return to the UK as needed.


Hourly Rate Considerations:

  • The hourly rate covers basic gross pay, inclusive of employee pension and national insurance contributions, but excludes additional pay and benefits.
  • If sponsored to work more than 48 hours per week, only the salary for the first 48 hours per week counts towards the £38,700 annual threshold.
  • Irregular work patterns over a cycle of up to 17 weeks can be considered, provided the average hours worked per week do not exceed 48. Unpaid rest weeks are factored into this calculation.

These criteria ensure that the CoS meets regulatory standards and guarantees appropriate compensation for sponsored workers.

To meet the financial requirement for a Temporary Work – Seasonal Worker Visa, you typically need to demonstrate access to at least £1,270 in cash funds. Here are the specifics:


Cash Funds Requirement:

 You must have held a minimum of £1,270 in cash for at least 28 consecutive days, ending no more than 31 days before your visa application date.


Exemption Provision:

  • If your employer agrees to cover your expenses during your first month in the UK, amounting to at least £1,270, you are exempt from this financial requirement.
  • Your sponsor must confirm this exemption on your Certificate of Sponsorship.

This provision ensures that applicants can financially support themselves during their initial period in the UK, either through personal funds or employer sponsorship.

Here’s the process for applying for a Temporary Work – Seasonal Worker Visa:


Submission Location:

  • Applications must be made from outside the UK.


  • There’s no time limit for applications in the edible or ornamental horticulture sector.
  • You can apply earliest 3 months before the start date indicated on your Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • For poultry production roles, applications must be submitted on or before 15th November each year if specified on the CoS.

Decision Timeframe:

  • You should typically receive a decision on your visa application within 3 weeks.

This process ensures timely and efficient handling of visa applications, allowing seasonal workers to prepare for their roles in the UK. 

The Home Office application fee for a Temporary Work – Seasonal Worker Visa application is currently £298.


Visa Duration:

For successful applicants of the Temporary Work – Seasonal Worker Visa, the duration of stay in the UK depends on the sector of employment:


Horticulture Sector:

  • You will be permitted to enter and remain in the UK for:
  • The period specified on your Certificate of Sponsorship for the job, plus an additional 14 days before and after that period, or
  • Up to 6 months within any 12-month period, whichever is shorter.


Poultry Production Sector:

  • You will be allowed to enter and stay in the UK for:
  • The duration of the job specified on the Certificate of Sponsorship, plus 14 days before and after that period, or
  • The period between 2nd October and 31st December of the year of application (inclusive), whichever is shorter.

This ensures that seasonal workers have appropriate authorization to work in the UK for the duration necessary for their specific roles and sectors.

During your stay in the UK as a Seasonal Worker, certain conditions apply:


Permitted Activities:

  • You are allowed to work in the specific job you have been sponsored for.
  • Some courses may be pursued, but for certain programs, you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate.


  • You cannot accept a permanent job, engage in secondary employment, or work in a role not outlined in your Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • Entitlement to public funds is not permitted.

These conditions ensure that Seasonal Workers adhere to the terms of their visa and contribute to the UK workforce in accordance with their sponsorship.

  • No provision for switching between visa routes.
  • Options for reapplication or Administrative Review in case of refusal.

Our immigration barristers are skilled professionals with extensive experience assisting both employers and skilled workers across various industries. We provide comprehensive support to ensure a smooth transition into your desired role while aligning with your immigration goals. Our approach is characterized by accessibility, proactivity, and dedication to meeting your needs effectively. With our clear and reliable advice, we strive to empower you to navigate immigration processes confidently and achieve success in your endeavors.

How can our Immigration lawyer can help you with your immigration matter.

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