Farm workers in Scottish agriculture: case studies

Case studies examining farm workers in Scottish agriculture and the international seasonal migrant labour market.

Appendix 1: Farm Business Survey

This survey is being undertaken by Scotland’s Rural College ( SRUC) as part of a Scottish Government funded research project on seasonal migrant workers in Scottish agriculture. This survey is aimed at farm businesses - if you are a registered labour provider / gangmaster please complete the alternative survey that can be found here.

The aim of the project is to produce reliable information on the seasonal (non-permanent) migrant labour market, including the amount of migrant labour currently utilised in Scotland, worker origins, labour conditions and the main types of work undertaken. Developing accurate data on seasonal migrant worker requirements in Scottish agriculture will mean the Scottish Government is better informed during the Brexit process. The project should result in significant new data to help inform decisions on how to react to, and improve access to migrant labour in Scottish agriculture.

Both the National Farmers Union Scotland and Scottish Land and Estates have endorsed this survey and encourage participation from across the farming community where seasonal migrant labour is utilised.

Please note that all the information you provide in your responses will remain fully confidential and used only in aggregated form in any resulting publications. In no way will any of the responses you provide be directly linked back to your business in any of the outputs from this research, or in any other respect. The information you provide will only be used by the SRUC research team and will not be available for any other use than this research project.

Definitions: Throughout this survey when we refer to seasonal migrant workers we mean non- permanent workers that are not UK citizens or non-permanent workers that do not have UK residency.

When we refer to seasonal workers we mean all temporary workers, regardless of their origin. When we refer to workers provided through labour providers we mean any workers not directly employed by you (i.e. you pay an agency / gangmaster who is responsible for paying their workers).

In our questions we are generally referring to the 2016 growing season.

To minimise your time inputting data on your farming activities we aim to use your agricultural holding number or Business Reference Number ( BRN) to extract data from the June Agricultural Census.

Thank you for participating in the survey. Your input is important. If you should have any queries please contact:

Steven Thomson 0131 535 4192 or Rob Mc Morran 0131 535 4268

1. What is your principle role in the business?
Owner / Partner, Manager / Supervisor, Other (please specify)

2. In your words, what is the main purpose of your business?

3. Can you please provide either your main holding number or business reference number~
Holding Number (parish / holding format), Business Reference Number

4. How many farm workers did you directly employ in 2016 under the following categories?
P ermanent staff of UK origin, Permanent staff of non- UK origin, Seasonal staff (both UK and non- UK)

5. If you have permanent non- UK origin employees approximately what proportion of them started as temporary / seasonal migrant workers? (you can drag the bar to the appropriate % or simply type it in the box)

6. Do you use seasonal labour for farm activities that is sourced through labour providers (i.e. you do not employ the workers directly - rather you pay a machinery ring or Gangmaster to provide a service)?
Yes, No

7. In 2016, what proportion of the total work undertaken by workers contracted through labour providers related to the following activities (estimate % of the total activity in each case):
Maintenance, Planting, Husbandry, Harvesting, Processing/packaging, Other, please specify:

8. Why did you use labour providers to carry out this work?

9. Roughly what percentage of your total seasonal labour needs in 2016 was provided through labour providers?

Throughout the rest of the survey when we refer to seasonal migrant workers we mean non- UK temporary workers that are directly employed by you (including those sourced through agencies such as HOPS or Concordia).

10. In relation to your seasonal labour requirements do you: (please select one)
Prefer to use labour providers (i.e. registered gangmasters), Prefer to directly employ migrant workers, Prefer to directly employ locally sourced / UK workers, Have no specific preference for seasonal migrants or local / UK worker…Please comment further on why you have chosen this option:

11. Did you directly employ seasonal migrant workers on your farm business in 2016?
Yes, No

12. Please indicate the number of seasonal workers (including non-migrants) you employed over the course of 2016 from each of the countries listed below:
Scotland, The rest of the UK, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Czech Republic,

13. In total, approximately how many seasonal migrants did you employ on your farm business over the course of 2016 (i.e. the total number of individuals)?

14. Do you undertake active recruitment of seasonal migrant workers outside the UK (e.g. in Bulgaria / Poland)?
Yes, No…If yes, please elaborate (e.g. why, where, how, when):

15. In 2016 approximately what percentage of the seasonal migrant workers you directly employed were sourced from the categories shown in the table below:
From your own direct recruitment activities outside the UK, Returnees (workers returning having worked on the farm in previous years), Referrals (workers referred by an existing or former employee), Workers sourced through a recruitment firm, Workers sourced through media / advertising, Workers that used to work for other farms / labour providers, Workers sourced through social media, Other, please specify

This question is designed to show the monthly employment profile of seasonal migrant workers in your business. Considering each month in 2016 please indicate in the table below:

16. The approximate total number of seasonal migrant workers employed per month;
Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

17. The approximate total number of person work days undertaken by seasonal migrant labour each month:
Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

18. What percentage (estimate) of all the seasonal migrant workers you employed in 2016 would you classify in the following categories:
Less than 1 month, 1-2 months, 3-5 months, 6-8 months, 9+ months

19. In 2016, what percentage of the total activity undertaken by the seasonal migrant workers you directly employed related to the following areas (estimate % of the total activity in each case - total should add up to 100%):
Maintenance, Planting, Husbandry, Harvesting, Processing/packaging, Other, please specify activity and %:

20. Please provide brief comments on the main ways in which the types of activities undertaken by seasonal migrant workers across the year vary, and why:

21. How many hours work per day do seasonal migrant workers undertake? (i.e. their working day)
Minimum, Typical, Maximum

22. How many days work per week do seasonal migrant workers undertake? (i.e. their working week)
Minimum, Typical, Maximum

23. Do you restrict how many hours seasonal migrant workers are employed each day or week to minimise overtime?
Yes, No….If yes, what restrictions do you apply to employed time?

24. What current hourly rate do you normally pay seasonal migrant workers?

25. Excluding overtime, does the rate you pay vary between workers for any reason?
Yes, No…If yes, why do pay rates differ? (experience, piece work, type of activity etc., please specify)

26. If pay rates differ (excluding overtime) please specify the lowest and highest hourly rates (pay range) you pay seasonal migrant workers:
Lowest rate (per hour)
Highest rate (per hour)

27. It would be helpful to understand the wider economic impact of your business, and seasonal employment. If you are willing, please give an approximation of your (a) total wage bill for seasonal employment and (b) business turnover:
Seasonal worker wages
Business turnover

28. Do you provide accommodation for seasonal migrant workers?
Yes, for all; Yes, for some; No

29. Approximately, how many seasonal migrant workers in total did you accommodate in 2016?

30. As far as you are aware, roughly what percentage of the seasonal migrant workers directly employed on your farm stay in each of the following forms of accommodation (answers should add up to 100%)?
On farm housing provided specifically for seasonal workers
Temporary on-farm accommodation (caravans/mobile homes)
Off farm private rental housing in local area
Off-farm private rental housing outside of the local area
Temporary off-farm accommodation (caravans/mobile homes)
Other (please specify)

31. Is there any specific driver behind the type of accommodation utilised by your seasonal migrant workers?

32. Do you or your employees organise any specific sports/social/recreational activities for the seasonal migrant workers, either on or off-farm?
Yes, No…If yes, please give some details:

33. Please comment on the importance of access to seasonal migrant labour for your business and any constraints you face in accessing seasonal labour (migrant or otherwise):

34. If you have any other specific comments you would like to add in relation to working hours, pay and conditions (e.g. sick pay, overtime, National Insurance, pension provision) please use the space below:

35. In the last 20 years have the countries from which your seasonal migrant workers originate changed substantially?
Yes, No….Please comment on the key changes and what you think has driven them:

36. If your company did not have access to seasonal migrant labour, what is the likelihood of the following occurring in relation to your business (Definitely will not happen, Probably will not happen, Probably will happen, Definitely will happen, Don't Know)
Maintain existing business structure, Downscale business, Cease current activity, Relocate overseas, Relocate within the UK, Automate production, Increase local recruitment, Increase wages to attract staff, Increase internal skills development, Switch to other agricultural activities (e.g. cereals / livestock), Focus on non-agricultural activities.

37. If you have any other comments you would like to add on any of the aspects covered in this survey please add them below:

38. The next phases of this project are important in providing a fuller picture of seasonal migrant agricultural labour in Scotland. Please select the options below if you are willing to help with further aspects of this research, or if you would prefer not to.
I would be willing to distribute a flyer to our workers and encourage them to answer a short survey on their experiences and motivations for coming to work in agriculture in Scotland
I would be willing for our business to be used as an anonymised case study within this project (this would involve a visit or visits by the researchers and on-site interviews with migrant workers)
No thanks, I'd prefer not to.

39. Thank you very much for offering to participate in the next stages of this project. Please provide your contact details so we can get in touch with you when we are ready to start the next phase of the project:
Your Name, Company Name, Address, Address 2, City/Town, State/Province, Post Code, Country. Email Address, Phone Number:

That completes the survey. We would like to thank you for your efforts in providing information to help improve awareness of the important role that seasonal migrant workers play in Scottish agriculture. We will be reporting in the Autumn and the expectation is that the full report and summaries will be accessible to all interested parties.

Many thanks once again.


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