Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has written to the Home Secretary to ask for a guarantee that deckhands for fishing vessels will be recognised as a “shortage occupation” under future immigration rules, ensuring access to skilled workers for fishing vessels. The letter follows the Government’s decision to reject advice by their own Migration Advisory Committee that would have included fishing vessel deckhands on the “skilled worker” list.
Mr Carmichael said:
“Fishermen need access to skilled deckhands but the Government appears to be standing in the way. I am asking for a commitment that when the new immigration system is put in place there will be an official recognition of the needs of the fishing industry.
“The Home Secretary has rejected the advice of the Migration Advisory Committee on the basis that coronavirus has changed the job market too much. That may in fact be the case for some jobs but the need for skilled deckhands on fishing vessels is longstanding and unlikely to change as a result of Covid-19. The industry expects to expand further after Brexit so this demand for skilled workers is not going away.”
“This is also about protecting fair and equitable working conditions for all fishing workers. The current system has potential for abuse through the transit visa loophole. Creating a clear route for non-UK deckhands will prevent unfair practices and ensure that the job market works for all fishermen.”