The NFU has welcomed government plans to allow EU nationals to live and work in the UK even in the event of a no-deal Brexit on October 31.

After previously emphasising that freedom of movement would end after Brexit, the Home Office has now clarified that EU nationals will still be able to work in Britain after Brexit, even if the UK leaves without a withdrawal agreement in place.

This provision is due to remain in place until December 31 2020.

NFU President Minette Batters said: "Farmers and growers across the country will be relieved to have much-needed certainty on how they will recruit workers from the EU after 31 October, as the Home Office clarifies its post-Brexit immigration policy.

"The NFU raised these concerns at two meetings with the Home Secretary in recent weeks, and it is welcome news that we have been heard and businesses now have much-needed clarity.

"However, questions still remain about the UK’s future immigration policy and it is essential that this is fit for purpose and based on business need, reflecting the importance of both permanent and seasonal workers to the industry.

"Fruit, veg and flower growers are still seeing a tightening of the seasonal labour supply and we are continuing to ask government to expand the number of permits in its seasonal workers pilot scheme, in preparation for a transition to a fully functioning scheme in 2021."

The NFU has repeatedly stated its opposition to a no-deal Brexit, urging the government to ensure an orderly exit from the European Union. While it did not actively campaign in the 2016 referendum campaign, the union released a resolution supporting remain.

West Dorset MP Sir Oliver Letwin said: "A transitional scheme is, as the NFU say, very welcome for our agro-industry. But our farmers will also need a long term assurance that they can bring in the seasonal labour they need following Brexit. Something like the old Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme is going to be required."

The provision to retain these aspects of freedom of movement after Brexit is due to remain in place until December 31 2020. The government intends to introduce a so-called 'Australian style points system' for immigration starting in 2021.

The government says that EU citizens who move to the UK after Brexit will have the opportunity to apply for a 36 month temporary immigration status called the European Temporary Leave to Remain.

Those who have not acquired either this or immigration status under the new system by December 31 2020 will be required to leave.

These most recent update of post-Brexit immigration arrangements for EU citizens was published on September 5. It can be found at