Central Asian countries were among the top sources of seasonal workers in the UK, according to a report by Spot citing SIA.

In 2022, U.K. authorities issued more than 6,000 work visas to workers from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan as part of the Seasonal Worker visa route in 2022, making up almost a quarter of all workers that year. Many more are expected to arrive this year from Central Asia.

Uzbekistan was the second-biggest source of seasonal workers after Ukraine in Great Britain in 2022. Last year about 2,000 Uzbeks were involved in seasonal work. Kyrgyzstan came in fourth place.

At the end of May, the UK’s Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) signed landmark agreements with the Agency of External Labour Migration under the Ministry of Employment and Poverty Reduction of Uzbekistan and the Centre for Employment of Citizens under the Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Migration of Kyrgyzstan.

The parties have agreed to share information about seasonal workers arriving in the UK. They will also ensure that all necessary procedures and rights of workers are followed when they are sent — both in the UK and by the sending party.

GLAA Director of Strategy Darryl Dixon called the documents signed “historic”.

"We saw a sharp upturn in the number of seasonal workers coming to the UK from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan in 2022 and our intelligence indicates that this is only going to keep rising in the next few years," he said.

He said the organization is committed to ensuring that every foreign worker who participates arrives on the scheme “leaves with a positive experience of working on UK farms and are not exploited for their labour.”

A migrant worker from Uzbekistan at Istanbul airport, flying to the UK, told a Gazeta.uz correspondent that he was on his way to Manchester to pick strawberries. According to him, the minimum wage is 14 pounds sterling per hour (almost 200,000 soums at the Central Bank exchange rate on April 9).

British farmers sought seasonal workers from Uzbekistan and other foreign countries in the spring of 2022, Spot reports. They aimed to fill the gap left by the reduced influx of migrants from Ukraine and Russia.

The farmers in Great Britain alone intend to hire 1,500 workers this year.

The UK and EU countries are among the most promising destinations for labor migration from Uzbekistan, according to a study by the Institute for Forecasting and Macroeconomic Research published in April 2022.

The study suggested subsidizing air tickets for migrants and promoting employment in new countries.