New resource to help Seasonal Workers from Central Asia prepare for work on UK farms

By Evie Breese - 12 March 2024

Alongside the Worker Support Centre and Oasis Kazakhstan, Work Rights Centre has created a toolkit outlining rights, entitlements and support available to workers from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan who are planning to travel to the UK for work in seasonal agriculture. With recent research showing the risks of exploitation of seasonal farm workers in the UK, seasonal workers must know what their rights are, and how to get help if these are abused. 

The seasonal worker scheme is a visa route that allows migrants to work on British farms for up to 6 months, picking fruits, vegetables or flowers, or working with poultry. Last year, 7,958 people from Kyrgyzstan were granted UK Seasonal Worker visas, 5,665 people from Tajikistan, 5,014 people from Kazakhstan and 4,091 people from Uzbekistan, according to UK government data

The British horticulture sector is characterised by a high risk of exploitation. Evidence shows that workers are often not being made fully aware of their rights, have limited union representation, and limited access to support services. UK government data found that 3 in 10 seasonal workers on British farms did not know how to raise a complaint about their employer. 

The most common problems faced by seasonal workers in 2023 were unsafe accommodation, difficulties transferring to alternative employment, poor treatment, discrimination and unlawful deductions from wages, according to new research published by the Worker Support Centre (WSC). The Work Rights Centre, which supports migrants across England, has assisted clients with similar issues, as well as bullying.

This resource has been created to equip workers with the essential knowledge of their rights at work, how to request a transfer, and where to get help if they experience any form of exploitation. 


Download English version here

Download Russian version here


Dr Dora-Olivia Vicol, CEO at The Work Rights Centre said:

“At Work Rights Centre we have helped many seasonal workers from Central Asia who have come to us describing farms who have failed to pay them, or who have refused their request to transfer to another farm for no reason. But in an ideal world, these abuses should not happen in the first place. 

“Alongside our policy and advocacy work addressing the systemic issues faced by migrant workers, we want to empower migrant workers to demand the rights they are entitled to. And if that fails, make sure they know how to report their employer, and where to find help.”


Valeria Ragni, Centre Manager for the Worker Support Centre said:

 “Farm workers come to us with a wide range of issues that span from pay to poor treatment and health and safety concerns. This is why it’s so important for workers to know at point of departure that they can reach out to the Worker Support Centre, Work Rights Centre and Oasis Kyrgyzstan for free, independent and confidential advice and support.”    


A spokesperson for Oasis Kyrgyzstan said:

“Many people in Kyrgyzstan hear about friends or family who went to work on a farm in the UK and believe that they will have a good time, with comfortable accommodation, good pay and fair working conditions. This is the case for some people, but in reality, many others come home with stories of cold or unsanitary housing, bullying, or problems claiming their wages. 

We want people in Kyrgyzstan to prepare themselves before travelling to the UK, so they know what their rights are in Britain, what they should be paid, and where to go for help if they are taken advantage of.”


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