UK government extends temporary visas for lorry drivers

KENT, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 21: Lorries line up in queue on the M20 motorway as operation stack is deployed in Maidstone, Kent, United Kingdom on December 21, 2020 after queues began to form in Dover Harbor following France decided to close its border with England for 48 hours due to the emergence of a 70 percent faster spreading type of the coronavirus (Covid-19). ( Alan Langley - Anadolu Agency )

The temporary Visas offered by the British government have seen an extension in validity period. Now, the Visas will stay valid even after the originally suggested date: 24th of December.

Authorities have proposed temporary visas under the framework of mitigating the ongoing fuel crisis, and the shortages in fuel tanker drivers and food haulage truckers.

According to Sky News, the government is introducing a newly u-turned short-term scheme to mitigate the crisis. The new plans extended the visa validity dates as follows:

  • 300 fuel drivers (subject to immigration checks): From now until March 2022
  • 4,700 food haulage drivers: From late October until 28 February 2022
  • 5,500 poultry workers: From late October up to 31 December 2021


The government says these temporary, time-limited visa measures, do not detract from a commitment to the welfare of domestic labour, but are needed due to extreme circumstances.

Even still, Ministers say they want to see employers make long-term investments in the UK domestic workforce instead of relying on overseas labour to build a high-wage, high-skill economy.

The new visa scheme, designed originally to tackle ongoing chaos in supply chains, has been viewed as a major U-turn, says PoliticsHome. Previously, ministers had kept insisting that they would not relax immigration rules in response to the crisis.

During Labour’s Party Conference in Brighton this week, leader Keir Starmer called on the government to deploy the army. More importantly, PoliticsHome quoted him calling for extension in the scheme to six months, describing the former Christmas eve deadline as not “long enough”.

Source: Sky News, Politics Home

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