Seasonal agricultural workers to be exempt from NI travel restrictions

Seasonal agricultural workers in Northern Ireland will be able to avail of exemptions from Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Those who arrive into Northern Ireland through the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme will now qualify for exemptions from the Covid-19 related travel restrictions, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has announced.

It comes as a result of a request made by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to the Department of Health.

2021 Seasonal Agricultural Workers Pilot Scheme

The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Pilot Scheme for 2021 will permit seasonal workers with an offer of employment from an edible horticulture farm, to claim an exemption from post-arrival testing and self-isolation if they have travelled from an amber list country.

The exemption will mean workers will not be required to self-isolate while they are working as long as they undertake Lateral Flow Device tests on days two, five and eight following arrival.

Minister Poots said: “I am pleased to announce that exemptions from certain Covid-19 regulations have been put in place for seasonal agricultural workers arriving in Northern Ireland to work on edible horticulture farms.

Access to seasonal workers is essential to the continued viability of the edible horticulture sector and given the relatively short timeframe of the visas, these exemptions will ensure that there is no time wasted when workers arrive here, and farms can benefit from the extra labour immediately.

“It is critical that we all continue to follow the Covid regulations, as put in place by the Department of Health.

“The amendments to the regulations for seasonal agricultural workers mean that workers will be able to avail of an exemption from self-isolation while working if they undertake Lateral Flow Device tests on days two, five and eight following arrival.”

Eligible horticulture farms in Northern Ireland can access lateral flow tests for their seasonal agricultural workers for free through: