Foreign fishermen will be invited to man British boats amid major skills shortage

A fisherman sorts and loads trays of salmon heads to be used as bait for crab and lobster pots as he prepares for their next voyage to sea, on the South Pier of Bridlington Harbour fishing port in Bridlington, north east England on December 11, 2020. - A Brexit trade deal between Britain and the European Union looked to be hanging in the balance on Friday, after leaders on both sides of the Channel gave a gloomy assessment of progress in last-gasp talks. Trade talks between the UK and the EU continue in Brussels with EU members' future access to Britain's rich fishing waters remaining a major sticking point. (Photo by OLI SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

FOREIGN fishermen will be invited to man British boats amid a major skills shortage – as the Government’s migration promises lie in tatters.

Tomorrow official Net Migration stats are due to smash record levels of arrivals, feared to top 800,000 for 2022.

A major skills shortage will see foreign fishermen invited to man British boats as trawler skippers and experienced boat hands are added to the Short Occupation List

That’s nearly four times the level the Tories promised at the 2019 election.

And in a fresh embarrassment for ministers the hugely symbolic fishing industry is the latest sector to need a foreign worker bail out.

Trawler skippers and experienced boat hands for large vessels have been added to the Short Occupation List meaning they can come to the UK to earn £20,960 instead of £26,200.

Applicants also pay a lower £479 free for a 3-year visa instead of £625.

Borders Minister Robert Jenrick insisted it is a “comprehensive package” to make sure the British fleet is “able to fully benefit from the fish in UK waters.”

“We strongly encourage the sector to engage with this to ensure they can attract the workers they need,” he added.

But Brexit stalwart Nigel Farage told HOAR British fishing is on its knees, facing shortages due to over-regulation despite leaving the EU.

“The anger in the industry is astonishing,” he said.

“Most fishermen I speak to are at already at their wits ends – I just give up.”

But ex-PM David Cameron was more sympathetic to the Government’s plight.

He urged them to use welfare reforms and training programmes to reduce the need for foreign labour.

The former premier, who never met his own goal of bringing net migration down to the “tens of thousands”, also hit out at critics of the Government’s Rwanda scheme.

He said there is “no point” complaining “if you don’t have a better answer” to the problem of small boat crossings.

Mr Cameron told LBC Radio: “I think the way to think about immigration is to recognise it’s a three-sided problem.

“There’s what immigration controls you can put in place.

“There’s what welfare reforms you have, to try and make sure that people who can work, do work.

“Then there’s what training and apprenticeship and other schemes you have, to make sure that we are training people for the jobs that our country is delivering.”