Guidance

Coming to the UK for seasonal agricultural work on English farms

Advice for seasonal agricultural workers coming to England to pick fruit and vegetables on farms, and their employers.

Applies to England

This is national guidance for England.

You and your employer must follow this guidance if you are coming to England to work on a farm as:

  • a seasonal agricultural worker under the Seasonal Workers Pilot
  • an EU worker with settled or pre-settled status, coming to pick fruit or vegetables

What you must do when you arrive in England depends on where you have been in the 10 days before you arrive. Check if a country or territory is listed as red, amber or green and the rules that apply to the country you are travelling from.

Before you travel

Before you travel to the UK (from any country or territory) you must take a test no more than 3 days before your departure date. The test must certify 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 fill in the passenger locator form in the 48 hours before you arrive in England.

You will need to include:

  • countries you have visited in the last 10 days
  • details of your journey
  • your contact details
  • the address where you will work and live in England

You may also have to give other information.

In the section of the form that’s 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’
  • add the address of the farm where you will be staying

You will need to prove at UK border controls that you are a seasonal agricultural worker. 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:

  • an amber list country and will need to self-isolate for 10 days
  • a red list country and will be staying in managed hotel quarantine for your first 10 days in England

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.

Red list countries

If you arrive from a red list country or have been in or through any red list countries during the 10 days before you enter the UK, you must book and stay in managed quarantine.

Travelling to the farm

When your managed quarantine has ended, you can go to the farm where you will live and work. You should stay at the address you provided in the passenger locator form when you arrived at the border.

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

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

Amber list countries

If you arrive from an amber list country, you must self-isolate for your first 10 days in England. You must stay at the address you provided in the passenger locator form when you arrived at the border.

You do not have to self-isolate and should follow guidance for green list countries if you:

  • have been fully vaccinated with an authorised vaccine in the UK, USA or EU
  • had your second vaccine at least 14 days before arriving in England
  • are part of an approved UK vaccine trial

Travelling to the farm

If you are going to live on the farm, you must go straight to the farm from your point of arrival in the UK. Someone you will be staying with at the farm should collect you from the airport, port or station.

You should wear a face covering if someone cannot collect you, and you need to use public transport to get to the farm. Read guidance on making and wearing a face covering.

Stay 2 metres apart from other people where possible. You should wear a face covering if you cannot stay 2 metres apart.

Your first 10 days in England

You can work on the farm if you are living there. If you do not live on the farm you will not be able to work for the first 10 days. Read guidance on how to quarantine when you arrive in England.

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

You must not leave the farm during the first 10 days unless there is 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 should ask your employer or colleagues for help, or order a delivery if you need to:

  • buy groceries or other shopping
  • collect medication

You should keep 2 metres apart from anyone outside of 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 on the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board website.

Testing while you are in England

You must take rapid lateral flow tests after you arrive. You must take the tests:

  1. Before the end of day 2.
  2. Before the end of day 5.
  3. Before the end of day 8.

If any of the lateral flow tests are positive you must take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

After your first 10 days in England

If your test results are negative you can leave the farm for any purpose after your first 10 days in England. 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

Green list countries

You do not have to self-isolate if you arrive from a green list country.

Travelling to the farm

You can live on the farm or elsewhere. You should stay at the address you provided in the passenger locator form when you arrived at the border.

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 first 10 days in England

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:

  • on day 5
  • on day 8
  • twice a week (every 3 or 4 days) while you are working on the farm

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

After your first 10 days in England

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 can leave the farm to collect or take a test.

You could be fined if you do not take a test on day 2. 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.

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

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.

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 - that means they have received the recommended dose of an MHRA approved COVID-19 vaccine in the UK and they had the final dose at least 14 days ago
  • are below 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, and 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.

If you get COVID-19 symptoms

You should take 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.

Others in your group

If your PCR test result is positive for COVID-19, members of the group you live and work with will also need to self-isolate for 10 days from:

  • when your symptoms started
  • the date after your test was taken, if you do not have symptoms but have tested positive

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

  • are fully vaccinated - that means they have received the recommended dose of an MHRA approved COVID-19 vaccine in the UK and they had the final dose at least 14 days ago
  • are below 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, and follow the guidance on how to stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Employing seasonal workers from overseas

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

You should make sure that workers have documentary evidence to confirm that they are travelling to your farm to carry out seasonal agricultural work. 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.

To make sure all workers understand COVID-19 related safety procedures, when workers arrive at the farm you should give them:

  • clear instructions about their working and living arrangements, and the COVID-19 related safety procedures you have put in place on your farm
  • 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 together

You should put workers who are self-isolating after arrival from an amber list country into groups of up to 6, and strictly limit contact with others outside of those groups. Amber list country groups should be made up of workers arriving on the farm within 24 hours of each other.

Workers should live and work in these groups.

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

You can group workers from green list countries with workers:

  • from amber list countries who do not need to self-isolate because they have been fully vaccinated with an authorised vaccine in the UK, USA or EU, and it has been 14 days since they had their second dose
  • who are on an approved UK vaccine trial
  • from amber list countries who have already completed 10 days of self-isolation
  • from red list countries who have completed 10 days in managed quarantine

You can decide how big the groups are, taking into account how easy it will be to isolate different groups of workers on your farm if they develop COVID-19.

Follow guidance on what to do if anyone in the group develops COVID-19 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 3 September 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated the translation pages.

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

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

  4. Updated the translations.

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

  6. Updated the translations.

  7. Updated with new requirements on testing.

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

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

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

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

  12. Updated Russian, Ukrainian and Belarussian translations.

  13. Updated Bulgarian translation.

  14. Updated the Polish and Romanian versions.

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

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

  17. First published.