Seasonal agricultural workers arriving into Northern Ireland from an amber list country are now exempt from Covid related self-isolation rules.
The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Pilot Scheme for 2021 will permit farm workers to claim an exemption from post-arrival testing and self-isolation.
They will be able to skip self-isolation while working as long as they undertake Lateral Flow Device tests on days 2, 5 and 8 following arrival.
The exemptions are as a result of the Department of Agriculture (DAERA) submitting a request to the Department of Health (DoH).
Farming Minister Poots said access to seasonal workers was 'essential to the continued viability' of the edible horticulture sector.
“Exemptions from certain Covid-19 regulations have been put in place for seasonal agricultural workers arriving in NI to work on edible horticulture farms," he added.
"Given the relatively short timeframe of the visas, these exemptions will ensure that there is no time wasted when workers arrive here, and farms can benefit from the extra labour immediately.”
Workers will be able to avail of an exemption from self-isolation while working if they undertake Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests on days 2, 5 and 8 following arrival.
LFD tests can be accessed in Northern Ireland for free by horticulture farms for their seasonal agricultural workers from workplace testing, collection from local test site or ordering tests online.
It comes as the UK government announced that more than 10,000 people who work in the UK food supply chain will be exempt from Covid-19 isolation rules.
Supermarket depot workers and food manufacturers, regardless of vaccination status, will be exempt from quarantine rules amid concern about potential food shortages.
The government said workers could do daily Covid testing instead of having to isolate.