Ukrainian workers are leaving ‘modern slave’ conditions on UK farms

The Guardian reports that hundreds of Ukrainians are estimated to be living and working illegally in the UK after leaving farms where they worked under conditions of “modern slavery”.

Most of these Ukrainians arrived in the UK in 2021 on seasonal work visas. In fact, the majority of workers who receive this visa in 2021 will be Ukrainians. Of the 29,631 visas issued under the T5 seasonal work process, 19,920 were issued to Ukrainian citizens.

The Scottish Refugee Council believes that up to 6,000 of these Ukrainians are living in the UK illegally.

These Ukrainians are now ineligible for visas issued to refugees from Ukraine following the Russian invasion.

The Guardian spoke to a Ukrainian woman who described the conditions on British farms as “modern-day slavery.” She is an IT professional who came to the UK with her boyfriend to earn more money.

The woman has already shared her story with the Center for Labor Rights, a solidarity organization that helps immigrant workers achieve justice. He said they both worked on a cherry farm where they were not allowed to wear gloves, meaning they had persistent sores on their hands.

On one farm, the woman shared that workers protested against working conditions and were sentenced to a week’s suspension.

This Ukrainian, who is Ukrainian, claims that she and her boyfriend are working illegally and that she is cleaning and he is in construction.

“We have met many Ukrainians who have left farms like ours, cannot return to Ukraine and were forced to work here illegally. I feel like I am being held hostage in the UK. My parents told me not to return to Ukraine under any circumstances because our city was bombed. ”He said.

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Reports of bad conditions on British farms are not new. A report by the Home Office and the Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) released late last year found evidence of seasonal workers coming to the country under the scheme launched in 2019 and working on fruit and vegetable farms. Faced “unacceptable” conditions.

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About the Author: Morton Obrien

"Reader. Infuriatingly humble travel enthusiast. Extreme food scholar. Writer. Communicator."

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