Temporary visa scheme falls short, say trade bodies

The Government announced on 25 and 26 September that up to 5,000 heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers and up to 5,500 temporary poultry workers and would be granted temporary visas to travel to and work in the UK up to and including 24 December.

Recruitment for additional short-term HGV drivers and poultry workers would begin in October and UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), working with the Department for Transport and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), would aim to expedite applications.

We have listened to concerns from the sector and we are acting to alleviate what is a very tight labour market,”​ environment secretary George Eustice said. “We have already taken a range of steps to support the industry, including streamlining the process for new HGV drivers and increasing the number of driving tests. Our measures provided a rapid increase in capacity and allow for an extra 50,000 tests to take place per year.

“Progress has already been made in testing and hiring, with improving pay, working conditions and diversity. We continue to closely monitor labour supply and work with sector leaders to understand how we can best ease particular pinch points. Through our Plan for Jobs we’re helping people across the UK retrain, build new skills and get back into work.”

Food and Drink Federation and British Poultry Council

The Food and Drink Federation’s chief executive, Ian Wright and British Poultry Council chief executive Richard Griffiths welcomed the decision concerning poultry workers. Wright said: “We welcome the government’s pragmatic decision to temporarily add HGV drivers and poultry workers to the existing visa scheme.

Source: foodmanufacture.co.uk