CHELMSFORD, England: There will be no shortage of turkeys for British consumers this Christmas season because of the foreign farm workers provided by the temporary workers visa scheme.
As part of the program, the government increased the number of temporary poultry workers allowed to enter the UK.
Turkey farmer Paul Kelly, owner of Kelly Bronze Turkeys in Chelmsford, Essex, reports that of the 63 staff now employed, 40 of them are from Poland.
He said there would not have been enough turkeys this season without seasonal workers being allowed to enter the country.
The government program allowed up to 5,500 poultry workers into the UK on three-month contracts.
Kelly noted that 28 of his Polish workforce had settled status, while the remainder came on the visa scheme.
"Without that seasonal staff, the turkey industry can't exist," he said, as reported by the BBC.
Kelly's turkey farm delivers 35,000 birds to the market in the four weeks before Christmas.
"People say employ local, but I've tried it. I have four weeks' work at the end of November through to December. Four weeks, that's all I have. Anyone who wants to work around here has a job," said Kelly.
"How can I expect people to give up their full-time job to help me for four weeks?"
Kelly's foreign staff are housed in seasonal accommodations for the four weeks they work for him.
Among the Polish staff is Jackob Chojnica, who lives outside Warsaw.
Chojnica said he earned £11 an hour, plus bonuses, working for Kelly 12 hours per day.
He said it was "good money" and more than he could earn in Poland.