Boparan rules out turkey shortage as firms set to hire 900 overseas staff

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(Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Britain’s biggest poultry producer has ruled out turkey shortage this Christmas as it is set to hire up to 900 temporary staff from overseas, under an emergency visa scheme introduced by the UK government to tackle labour shortage.

Ranjit Singh Boparan, whose companies- 2 Sisters and Bernard Matthews- produce around a third of all poultry products consumed in the UK, said the first workers would arrive in the next few days as it prepared for the busy festive season.

“With just a few weeks to go until Christmas, it is very good news to be able to report that here we are in mid-November, and we’re well on the way to plugging the job gaps for the massive volume increases we get during this time of year.

“This means we should be able to fulfil all our projected orders for turkeys and there will be enough turkeys to go around. Everyone should be able to source their Christmas turkey this year, which is great news.”

Boparan, also known as Chicken King, owns 600 farms and 16 factories, employing 18,000 people. 

Earlier this year in September, it was announced that  5,500 poultry workers from overseas would be granted temporary visa amid concerns that new post-Brexit immigration rules combined with the impact of the pandemic had led to a record number of food manufacturing workers returning to their home countries, leaving poultry processing plants with huge labour shortages.

Boparan has previously warned Britons that a shortage of labour would mean less choice and potentially empty shelves and higher prices. Last month he stated that the cost of chicken was set to rise by more than 10 per cent as food in Britain was currently “too cheap”.