Guidance

Coming to England for seasonal agricultural work, poultry work or pork processing

Advice for seasonal agricultural workers, seasonal poultry workers and pork butchers coming to England to work on farms or processing sites or at slaughterhouses, and their employers.

Applies to England

The rules for travel to England from countries not on the red list have changed. If you’re travelling from countries and territories not on the red list the rules depend on your vaccination status.

This is national guidance for England.

You and your employer should follow this guidance if you are coming to England to carry out the following activities:

  • seasonal agricultural work on a farm to pick fruit and vegetables
  • seasonal poultry work on a farm or processing plant
  • pork processing at a slaughterhouse, processing site or farm

Poultry work includes:

  • catching poultry
  • slaughtering poultry
  • preparing and processing poultry meat
  • packing poultry meat on farms or processing sites 

Pork processing includes:

  • slaughtering and butchering pigs
  • preparing and processing pig meat (pork)

This guidance applies to you if you have the right to come to the UK to do this work - this applies if you are an EU worker with settled or pre-settled status or if you have a visa for seasonal agricultural work, seasonal poultry work or pork processing.

What you must do when you arrive in England depends on whether you:

  • have been in a red list country in the 10 days before you arrive
  • arrive from a country or territory not on the red list - this applies whether you are fully vaccinated or not

Before you travel to the UK from any country

Check if you qualify as fully vaccinated

You are fully vaccinated if you have had a complete course of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in England. The day you had your final dose does not count as one of the 14 days.

You must have been vaccinated by one of the following:

Even if you are not fully vaccinated, the fully vaccinated rules apply if you:

  • are under 18 and resident in the UK or one of the approved countries
  • are taking part in an approved coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine trial in the UK or the USA (US residents only for USA trials)
  • cannot have a COVID-19 vaccination for a medical reason which has been approved by a clinician under the new medical exemptions process, and you are resident in the UK

If you live in England, read about applying for a medical exemption from vaccination using the NHS COVID-19 Pass.

Proving your vaccination status

If you are fully vaccinated under the UK vaccination programme, you can prove your vaccination status using either:

Paper certificates are also available from the NHS website.

If you were vaccinated outside of the UK, check what proof you need to give for the country or territory where you were vaccinated.

If you cannot prove that you qualify under the fully vaccinated rules, you must follow the rules for people who are not fully vaccinated.

Fill in a passenger locator form

Before you travel to the UK (from any country or territory) you must fill in a passenger locator form 48 hours before you arrive in England.

Regardless of where you are travelling from, you will need to include:

  • countries you have visited in the last 10 days
  • details of your journey
  • your contact details
  • the addresses where you will work and live in England - give wherever you are staying as your main residential address (this could be the farm, or separate accommodation if you are a poultry worker or pork butcher and will not be staying at the farm, processing site or slaughterhouse)

If you are travelling from a country not on the red list and are not fully vaccinated, you will also have to give other information. In the section of the passenger locator form called ‘Self-isolation in the UK’, you should: 

  • select the option ‘I need to self-isolate when I arrive in the UK’
  • add your occupation as ‘seasonal agricultural worker’, ‘seasonal poultry worker’ or ‘pork butcher’‘
  • add the address where you will be staying
  • add the address where you will be working if you are a poultry worker or pork butcher and will not be staying at the farm, processing site or slaughterhouse

Arriving in England

You will need to prove at UK border controls that you are coming to England to work as a seasonal agricultural worker, a seasonal poultry worker or a pork butcher. Read guidance on what you will need to show when you arrive at the UK border.

You should make sure you have enough essential supplies (such as clothing, medicine and cigarettes) if you are:

  • arriving from a red list country and staying in managed hotel quarantine for your first 10 days in England
  • not fully vaccinated and will need to self-isolate for 10 days

You should not travel if you have COVID-19 symptoms. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms when you are travelling to England, you should tell:

  • one of the crew on your plane, boat or train
  • the driver if you are travelling by bus or coach

They will let staff in the airport, port or station know, so they can tell you what you must do when you arrive.

Travelling from a country on the red list

If you have been in a country or territory on the red list during the 10 days before you enter the UK, you must take a COVID-19 test no more than 3 days before your departure date. The test must show a negative result for coronavirus (COVID-19). You will not be allowed to enter the UK if you receive a positive test result.

You must:

Travelling to the farm, your accommodation, or processing site accommodation

When your managed quarantine has ended, you can travel to the address where you will work and live in England.

You may be asked to wear a face covering in some places, and on some public transport. Read guidance on making and wearing a face covering.

You should follow guidance for how to stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Your employer may place you into a group of workers that you will live and work with.

Testing while you are in England

After leaving the managed quarantine hotel you should take a rapid lateral flow test twice a week (every 3 or 4 days) while you are working on the farm, processing site or slaughterhouse.

Travelling from a country not on the red list if you are not fully vaccinated

If you are not fully vaccinated, you must:

  • take a COVID-19 test no more than 3 days before your departure date - your test must show a negative result for COVID-19 (you will not be allowed to enter the UK if your test result is positive)
  • self-isolate for your first 10 days in England
  • stay at the address you provided in the passenger locator form

Travelling to your accommodation

You should go straight to your accommodation from your point of arrival in the UK. This will either be:

  1. The farm, processing site or slaughterhouse, if you are living and working there.
  2. Other accommodation, if you are not staying at the farm, processing site or slaughterhouse where you will be working.

Someone you will be staying with should collect you from the airport, port or station. 

If someone cannot collect you, you can use public transport to get to your accommodation. You should wear a face covering on public transport.

Read guidance on making and wearing a face covering.

You should stay 2 metres apart from other people when you are travelling. You should wear a face covering if you cannot stay 2 metres apart.

Your first 10 days in England 

Your employer should put you into a group that you will live and work with.  

You must not leave the farm (if you are living on the farm) or your accommodation during the first 10 days except to travel to and from work, or if there’s an emergency. For example, if you need:

  • urgent medical assistance (or where your doctor has advised you to get medical assistance)
  • to access critical public services such as social services and victim support services
  • to go to the funeral of a close relative
  • to fulfil a legal obligation such as take part in legal proceedings

You can leave the farm (if you are living on the farm) or your accommodation to collect or take a test.

You should ask your employer or colleagues for help, or order a delivery, if you need to:

  • buy groceries or other shopping
  • collect medication

For the first 10 days you should keep 2 metres apart from anyone outside your group. 

You should follow guidance on safer working when carrying out work on the farm.

Read the industry best practice guidance on seasonal working during COVID-19 on the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board website.

Testing while you are in England

You must take rapid lateral flow tests after you arrive:

  • before the end of day 2
  • before the end of day 5
  • before the end of day 8

If any of the rapid lateral flow tests are positive you must take a PCR test.

After your first 10 days in England

If your COVID-19 test results are negative, you can leave the farm or your accommodation for any reason. You should follow guidance on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

You should continue to take a rapid lateral flow test twice a week (every 3 or 4 days) while you are working on the farm, processing site or slaughterhouse.

Travelling from a country not on the red list if you are fully vaccinated

Check if you qualify as fully vaccinated.

You do not have to take a pre-departure test or self-isolate if you are fully vaccinated.

Check what proof is required for the country or territory where you were vaccinated.

If you cannot prove that you qualify under the fully vaccinated rules, you must follow the rules for people who are not fully vaccinated.

Travelling to your accommodation

You should travel directly to the address you provided in the passenger locator form when you arrived at the border and stay there.

You may be asked to wear a face covering in some places and on some public transport. Read guidance on making and wearing a face covering.

Your employer may put you into a group that you will live and work with.

Testing while you are in England

You must take a rapid lateral flow test on or before the end of day 2, after you arrive in England.

You should also take a test twice a week (every 3 or 4 days) while you are working on the farm, processing site or slaughterhouse.

If any of the lateral flow tests are positive you should take a PCR test.

You should follow guidance on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Take a rapid lateral flow test

Rapid lateral flow tests are free. You take the test yourself and report your own result.

To report the result, follow the instructions included with the testing kit. Reporting your result is important to keep yourself and others safe.

Find out where you can get tests.

You could be fined if you do not take the tests you must take. You may receive phone calls to check you have taken the test.

Ask your employer if you need help taking a rapid lateral flow test.

If you test positive

You should self-isolate immediately if you get a positive result from a rapid lateral flow test.

Other members of your group should also self-isolate.

You should take a PCR test as soon as possible. This applies even if you have received one or more doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

You and members of your group must self-isolate if your PCR test result is positive.

You and members of your group should self-isolate if:

  • the PCR test result is negative but you are unwell with COVID-19 symptoms
  • you receive a negative PCR test result but the test was taken more than 2 days after the rapid lateral flow test
  • your rapid lateral flow test is positive and you do not take a PCR test

Other members of your group are not required to self-isolate if they:

  • are fully vaccinated in the UK - that means they have received the recommended doses of an COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK, and they had the final dose at least 14 days ago  
  • are under the age of 18 years 6 months
  • have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

Fully vaccinated members of your group should still take a PCR test, even if they do not have symptoms. They should follow the guidance on how to stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

You and members of your group may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 through the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme if you are required to self-isolate.

You should follow guidance on COVID-19 test results.

If your PCR test is negative, and was taken within 2 days of the positive rapid lateral flow test, you and any members of your group that are self-isolating can stop self-isolating.

If you get COVID-19 symptoms

You should apply for a PCR test if you get any of the following symptoms, even if these symptoms are mild:

  • new continuous cough
  • high temperature
  • loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste

You can call NHS 119 to arrange a test if you do not have access to the internet.

You should self-isolate for both of the following:

  • at least 10 days from when your symptoms started
  • until you are better and no longer have a high temperature

If you still have a high temperature after 10 days or are otherwise unwell:

  • stay at home
  • seek medical advice

If you do not have symptoms but test positive for COVID-19 you must self-isolate for 10 days starting from the day after you first test positive.

If you test positive you will be asked to share your contacts with the NHS Test and Trace service. This includes each person in the group that you live and work with. The information you gave in your passenger locator form may be used to alert people who travelled to the UK with you.

Use the NHS 111 online service, or call 111 if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

For a medical emergency call 999.

How to get COVID-19 vaccinations if you are not fully vaccinated

To get the best protection against COVID-19, you should get fully vaccinated.

If you have had one vaccination (your first dose) before you arrived in the UK, you should register with a GP surgery and discuss how to get an appropriate second dose. The second dose you get in the UK could be a different vaccine to the first dose you had.

Employing from overseas

Follow this guidance if you are a grower or producer, labour provider or agency bringing workers from overseas to work on farms, processing sites or slaughterhouses in England.

You should make sure that workers have documentary evidence to confirm that they are travelling to one of the following:

  • your farm for seasonal agricultural work
  • your farm or processing site to carry out seasonal poultry work
  • your farm, processing site or slaughterhouse to carry out pork processing

Workers must have these documents before they travel which they can show to border officials at the UK border.

You should follow the principles set out in the working safely guidance.

Read the industry best practice guidance on seasonal working during COVID on the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board website.

When arranging transport for workers between their accommodation and processing sites, consider Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer transport guidance for operators. 

When arranging accommodation, consider guidance on:

When workers arrive at the farm, processing site or slaughterhouse, you should give them:

  • clear instructions about their working and living arrangements, and the COVID-19 related safety procedures you have put in place in the workplace
  • guidance on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • information about testing, and how you will help them meet these requirements
  • information on what to do if they have symptoms

You should ask workers to confirm in writing that they have received and understood this information. You should provide translation services if these are needed.

Grouping workers from countries and territories not on the red list who are not fully vaccinated 

You should put workers arriving from countries and territories not on the red list who are not fully vaccinated into groups of up to 6, and strictly limit contact with others outside of those groups for their 10-day self-isolation.

Unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated worker groups should be made up of workers arriving in England within 24 hours of each other.

Groups of workers should:

  • live and work together on the farm (if they are living on the farm) or in other accommodation if they are working on a processing site or slaughterhouse
  • travel separately from other groups from their accommodation to the processing site or slaughterhouse
  • use shared facilities such as kitchens and living areas at separate times if other groups are also living in the accommodation

You can choose to keep workers in these groups after they have completed their 10-day self-isolation.

Grouping workers from countries and territories not on the red list who are fully vaccinated and arrivals from red-list countries

You can group workers from countries and territories not on the red list who are fully vaccinated and arrivals from red-list countries once they have completed their mandatory hotel quarantine.

You can decide how big the groups are. Consider how you will isolate different groups of workers on your farm, processing site or slaughterhouse if anyone in the group develops COVID-19.

Follow guidance on what to do if anyone in the group develops symptoms.  

Testing for your employees 

You should help your employees access rapid lateral flow tests. 

You can:

You should continue to support your employees so they are able to take a rapid lateral flow test twice a week (every 3 or 4 days), or if they test positive, a confirmatory PCR test.

Published 3 June 2020
Last updated 1 November 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added advice for pork butchers coming to England for seasonal work and how workers can get Covid-19 vaccinations while they are in the UK.

  2. Updated with changes to rules for travel to England from countries not on the red list.

  3. Updated the translation pages.

  4. Updated guidance on self-isolation rules for vaccinated workers.

  5. Updated guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19 for seasonal agricultural workers and employers.

  6. Updated the translations.

  7. Updated with new guidance on travelling from a country or territory listed as red, amber or green.

  8. Updated the translations.

  9. Updated with new requirements on testing.

  10. Updated with a link to the countries from which travel to the UK is banned.

  11. Updated guidance with new rules on what you need to do before travelling to the UK

  12. Updated to reflect that the self-isolation period is now 10 days instead of 14 with day zero being the day of contact.

  13. Updated with a link to guidance on COVID-19 alert levels.

  14. Updated Russian, Ukrainian and Belarussian translations.

  15. Updated Bulgarian translation.

  16. Updated the Polish and Romanian versions.

  17. Updated guidance under the 'Travelling from an exempt country' heading.

  18. Updated with guidance for travellers coming from countries that are exempt from quarantine rules.

  19. First published.