Migrant Farm Workers

in Scotland




affect field (2) picture perfect
castle landscape around (2)
kilt factory strawberry
earn bagpipe pay/paid/paid
per migrant spend/spent/spent (2)
citizen seasonal breath-taking
rent view (3) think/thought/thought (2)
sector smell (2) high-street
neglect abandon run/ran/run (3)
local struggle opportunity
rural customer find/found/found
vacant highlands build/built/built
lack container begin/began/begun
wage as well as barber shop
worry harvest permanent
get to supporter would rather
Brexit dream (2) unemployed
EU provost come across (2)
pick minimum make a living
employ alongside wake/woke/woken
county someday gastarbeiter
equal regional leave/left/left






Picture perfect Scotland. The Highlands, famous for their breath-taking landscapes, the castles and lakes. Add some bagpipes and kilt, and this is the way tourists experience this part of Britain.

The workers on a strawberry farm however, don’t get to see this side of Scotland. Almost all of them came from Eastern Europe.

They earn around three-hundred euros (€300) per week here. That equals a month’s wage in Romania and Bulgaria.

Dimitri Ion has been spending the summer months in Scotland for seven years now. As an EU citizen, he never had problems entering the country. But Brexit could mean the end of freedom of movement.

Dimitri Ion, Harvester: “It would be harder I think. In my last flight, there were a lot of questions at the airport: Where am I going? How many hours am I going to work? If I pay rent here? A lot of questions, yeah. And four, five years ago, that never happened to me.”

During the summer, some ten-thousand workers from other EU countries are employed in the Scottish agricultural sector.

Brexit also has a worrying affect on Scottish farmers.

The politicians in London neglect and abandon us, says Angus Porter, who runs he farm. He employs one-hundred forty (140) seasonal workers. Not one of them is British.

He struggles to find enough local workers in rural Scotland. The future worries him.

Angus Porter, Farmer: “We built up an industry entirely based on people coming from the EU. And without them . . . well, it would be very, very difficult. I don’t know how we would begin to do our work.”

The nearby town of Arbroth has seen better days: hardly anyone here can make a living from fishing anymore.

Many shops on the high-street are vacant; they lack customers with money to spend. It’s somewhat busier that the barber shop, though. Employees, as well as customers, are from Eastern Europe.

Migrants from the EU are needed everywhere, they say.

Emin Ozden, Customer: “Not only the farmers. There are fish factories here. There are chicken factories around here. Fish factory jobs are not easy. And we all know that fish smells, you know. It’s not an easy job.”

Some regional politicians have a different view, though. Brexit supporters would rather send unemployed Scots to work in the fields.

Ronnie Proctor, Angus County Provost: “When I was a boy, I worked on the farms, When I was at school, during the holidays, we went out earning money doing that.

With the foreign people coming across, the guests, the gastarbeiters coming across, has made the local people, perhaps not had the opportunity.”

Locals however, wouldn’t want to live in these containers, on the farm, and be woken at five am to start picking, says Dimitri.

Alongside other seasonal workers, Dimitri earns the minimum wage, often for ten to twelve hours a day.

Dimitri Ion, Harvester: “We had some Scottish guys. They came . . . two, three days . . . and then they left because the job was too hard.”

Dimitri would like to stay in Scotland permanently, instead of just during the harvest season.

And he would like to see more of Scotland than just the strawberry fields. His dream is to visit the Scottish highlands someday. But Brexit could stop that from ever happening.


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1. The only foreigners to come to Scotland are migrant workers. True or false?

2. Do the migrants come from Mexico and Morocco?

3. Dimitri Ion lives permanently in Scotland. Is this right or wrong? Is he a newcomer to Scotland?

4. What happened to him at the airport in recent years? Did he like that?

5. Do Scots completely agree about immigration and migrant workers? What are their views?

6. Locals like to work in manual, laboring jobs. Is this correct or incorrect?

7. Are the migrants and the farmers optimistic, pessimistic, both or neigher about the future?


A. Are you an immigrant? Do you know anyone who has immigrated to another country or region?

B. There are migrants living and working in my city and country. Yes or no? If yes, who are they? Where do they come from? What do they do?

C. Do (young) locals shun laboring jobs? Can employers find enough workers? Do they want to bring in foreign labor?

D. Is there xenophobic or populist sentiment among locals?

E. What should people, business and politicians do?

F. What might happen in the future?

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