Seasonal workers from Romania were flown into the United Kingdom on a special charter flight on Thursday evening to help fill a huge shortage of workers to pick fruits and vegetables on the country’s farms.

Farms across Europe are facing an acute labour deficit as a result of the travel bans that have been in place since mid-March amid the coronavirus outbreak. Farmers are deeply concerned about rotting crops, rising prices and a shortage of fresh fruits and vegetables.

The UK is following the example of Germany, where a programme allowing the arrival of 80,000 migrant workers over the course of two months has been under way since April 2. ACS has already operated a total of 13 flights in the past three weeks, five of which have been in the past couple of days, carrying a total of 18,740 workers from Romania and Bulgaria to Germany, says Phillips.

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