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Bound to work: Improving access to redress on the UK’s Seasonal Worker Scheme.

May 2024

Making the Seasonal Worker Scheme safer and fairer. Report two.

This new FLEX report, the second in a series of three, is based on research conducted over 17 months in partnership with Rosmini, CASL and SEEAC.

The report looks at farm work in the UK and sheds light on the conditions that are leaving thousands of migrant seasonal labourers trapped in cycles of debt.

The report by Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX) documents the ways that workers can become stuck in poor employment, with requests to transfer to a different farm often ignored or denied. It reveals a recurrent issue of people traveling to the UK only to find that there is not enough work for them to make the money they had expected, or, in some cases, even to pay migration costs. It uncovers how late payments or underpayments – combined with mounting debts, a fear of complaining, and a lack of reliable ways to change jobs – can lead to workers becoming coerced into accepting poor and unsustainably intensive living and working conditions.

The first report in this series, ‘Bearing fruit: Making recruitment fairer for migrant workers’ looked at recruitment related risks associated with the seasonal worker scheme. The third report, the final in the series, will look more closely at working and living conditions. 

The executive summary and full report are available below