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Food sector HGV drivers offered temporary visas


In a further measure to ease supply chain issues, the government has made temporary visas (T5) available for food sector HGV (class 1 and class 2/C and C+E) drivers.

Of the 5,000 visas originally announced, 4,700 visas were allocated to the food sector and the remainder allocated to the fuel sector.

Expected to last for a maximum of three months from the date of issue, the visas must be applied for by 1 December 2021 at the very latest, with the first arrivals expected by the beginning of November.

At the time of writing, the eligibility criteria for the food sector visas had yet to be clarified, but members interested in utilising the scheme must be those responsible for the employment, pay and working conditions of the drivers concerned. Businesses will also be responsible for ensuring that drivers are qualified to drive the vehicles.

Alex Veitch, Deputy Director of Public Policy, Logistics UK, said: “We urge interested members to offer a strong employment package to attract the drivers, as well as to consider all the costs entailed – the visa, travel, accommodation, daily allowances etc. Employers will also be responsible for ensuring that drivers are qualified to drive the vehicles and worker welfare will also be an essential consideration.

“We will review the uptake of visas, and progress on UK drivers entering or rejoining the industry, and will press government to take further action on visas and other measures as needed to support the entire logistics sector.”

To help the fuel industry, the government has released almost 200 military tanker personnel, 100 of which are drivers, to undertake training at haulier sites. These were deployed from Monday to provide temporary support as part of the government’s wider action to further relieve pressure on petrol stations.

Logistics UK was delighted to learn earlier this week (5 October 2021) that the government has listened to its request and confirmed that the £3,000 employer incentive payment for each apprentice has been extended until 31 January 2022.

Meanwhile, to help increase the number of domestic applicants to the HGV driving profession, the Department for Education (DfE) has committed to investing up to £10 million to train 3,000 people to become HGV drivers at newly created Skills Bootcamps. These short, intensive courses will train drivers to gain a Cat C or Cat C&E licence to be road ready. Free to attend, the Bootcamps include all tests and licence acquisition costs, including the initial medical. For further information email skills.bootcamps@education.gov.uk.

*www.logistics.org.uk/skills

Published On: 07/10/2021 16:00:48

 

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