The decision to give out temporary visas to European drivers was not viewed positively by many. The reality of the move remains unclear, as Boris Johnson refuses to rule out further relaxation of immigration rules.
The UK’s fuel has no one to haul it to petrol stations. That is why the government decided to issue temporary visas to foreign HGV drivers.
In response to concerns about the visa scheme, PM stressed he does not want a return to “a lot of low-wage immigration“, according to Sky News.
300 fuel tanker drivers will be able to come to the UK from overseas “immediately” under a visa valid until March. The new scheme also mentioned other type of drivers’ visas.
That may not be enough to manage the crisis. The Road Haulage Association (RHA) estimated a shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers in the UK.
Fears of “low-wage economy”
On Saturday, PM Jonson did not deny possibility of further relaxations to immigration rules. “What we have now is a system that allows us to control immigration,” he said.
However, the prime minister stressed he was hesitant about relaxing immigration rules even further.
In an interview with the Times, Mr Johnson said: “The choice is very clear for the country. Do we go forward with steady improvements in productivity or back to a policy of low-wage, low-skilled, uncontrolled immigration? I don’t think that’s the way forward. We need an approach that makes sure we invest in people, invest in skills, invest in capital technology in this country.”
“I’ve always been in favour of allowing people who want to come to make their lives here and work hard and have a lot to contribute,” quotes Sky News.
“I’m the descendant of immigrants – many, many people are. But what I also want to see is standards of jobs going up around the country, pay going up around the country, he added.
PM looked to the future saying: “I think what the UK shouldn’t do is continue to try to be a low-wage low skill, low productivity economy.”