Scotland's soft fruit growers have called on the government to make crucial decisions now on the ability to recruit non-UK staff in 2021.
The Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme introduced by UK government recognised the specific need to bring in workers to undertake work in the fruit and vegetable sector.
The Scottish soft fruit sector welcomed the pilot being scaled up in 2020, to allow 10,000 permits to be offered to workers from outside the EU to work in the UK this year.
However, this will fall significantly short of requirements when the free movement of people from the EU comes to an end on 1 January 2021.
Farming groups say around 70,000 seasonal staff are required in the UK fruit, vegetable and ornamentals sector each year.
Of this number, approximately 10,000 workers are understood to undertake work on Scottish farms, undertaking horticultural work for between six and nine months.
From NFU Scotland's surveying of its horticulture members, 100 percent indicated that their businesses depended on non-UK seasonal agricultural workers.
The union says the UK government intends to review the current pilot imminently, with a view to deciding how, or indeed if, it will replace the scheme following the end of free movement from 2021 onwards.
NFU Scotland has written to MPs this week calling for a 'fully functional' Seasonal Workers Scheme that will ensure the fruit, veg and ornamental sectors can secure the necessary numbers of non-UK staff in the future.
Chair of the union’s Specialist Crops committee, James Porter, said: “The industry’s response during the pandemic has shown how vital a reliable, experienced overseas workforce, with a high level of returnees, is to these sectors.
"While we were successful in recruiting a larger number of local workers this year, the vast majority of the workforce were still sourced from out with the UK.
"For many years, growers have been unable to fill vacancies from the domestic workforce, and this will continue to be the case as horticulture invests in its future expansion."
Mr Porter said the UK government must come to a decision which recognised the need for Scottish horticultural operators to recruit workers from outside the UK.
"It is the view of NFUS that the government’s lack of clarity on the sector’s ability to recruit workers from outside the UK from January 2021 onwards is untenable," he added.
“Without urgent clarity on the future of the scheme, planting and investment decisions cannot be taken, and the sector could face severe productivity and financial challenges in the 2021 season and beyond."