Logistics needs access to migrant workers to Keep Britain Trading
Tuesday 28 January 2020
In response to recommendations made by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to reduce the £30,000 salary threshold for immigration post-Brexit but retain the Level 3 qualification requirement, Sally Gilson, Head of Skills Policy at FTA comments:
“While FTA is pleased to see the £30,000 salary threshold has been reduced, the MAC’s proposal to retain the Level 3 qualification requirement would severely worsen the shortage of labour in the logistics sector if implemented; as such, it should be removed from the post-Brexit immigration policy. The UK desperately needs 59,000 HGV drivers just to keep operations afloat, but as this job only requires a Level 2 qualification, businesses would not be able to recruit non-UK drivers under the proposed system. The sector is heavily reliant on EU workers – these individuals comprise 13% of the entire logistics workforce – and with 64% of logistics businesses already struggling to fill vacancies, taking away the pool of non-UK workers would have devastating impacts for UK plc and the wider economy. These standards would hit hardest the industries that are already suffering from labour shortages; they unfairly discriminate against vocational workers who provide a vital service to the UK economy.”
Ms Gilson continues: “In an ideal scenario, we would be able to recruit UK workers to fill the shortfall, but with the UK experiencing record levels of employment, the sector remains reliant on migrant labour.
“The logistics sector wants to keep the UK trading – and will do anything possible to see this happen – but we need an immigration policy that provides the right framework; not just for the logistics sector, but for the wider UK economy.”
Efficient logistics is vital to keep the UK trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.