Visa guidance to support seafood businesses with international workers

Visa guidance being produced to support seafood businesses with international workers

We’re collaborating with The Seafarers’ Charity to produce guidance to help businesses navigate the skilled workers visa application process.

This guidance will be especially relevant for fishing vessels operators who will be affected by the Home Office changes on the use of transit visas, which are expected to take effect in March/April 2023.

It's been a difficult time for seafood businesses, many of whom are facing challenges with recruitment and labour. Some UK fishing and processing businesses are not able to source the labour they need within the UK so need to look at options to employ non-UK workers on fishing boats and in processing plants. This can be a complex process. We want to help owners of UK fishing vessels and seafood processing business to navigate Home Office sponsor license requirements for recruiting and employing international crew and staff on skilled worker visas.

Crew working with nets on harbour
We’re developing guidance to help owners of fishing vessels and seafood processing businesses employing individuals from outside the UK

A package of support is being developed in partnership with The Seafarers’ Charity and immigration specialist Darren Stevenson. This support package aims to improve understanding and awareness of Home Office sponsor requirements so that seafood businesses are able to make use of the skilled workers opportunity.

We know that the skilled workers visas option won’t be suitable in every situation, but we want to make sure that businesses are not being excluded simply because they are unable to navigate the application process. Our goal is to help simplify the process and cut some of the costs involved by reducing the need for businesses to seek external advice.

The guidance will help business owners to:

  • make an informed decision about whether to become a sponsor
  • understand the ongoing financial and administrative requirements
  • determine if becoming a sponsor employing crew or staff on a skilled worker visa is a good fit for their business

Information will be published on our website in early 2023. Triage support will then be available for updates as necessary in response to further queries.

Further information on guidance and support will be made available by February 2023. For any queries on this project in the meantime please contact Project Officer Cecilia Enquist on