Fuel drivers get the OK

Finance | 19 Oct 2021

Boris Johnson is here to save Christmas - new immigration measures will allow 300 fuel drivers to arrive in the United Kingdom immediately and stay until the end of March.

These measures are meant to alleviate labor shortages which led to empty shelves and queues at petrol stations throughout the UK.

The drivers will be given emergency visas in a temporary scheme that will extend beyond Christmas Eve. This is a major change in policy after ministers previously insisted that they would not relax immigration rules in response to the crisis.

It comes as Keir Starmer, the Labour Party leader, demanded that parliament be recalled to sort out the fuel and food shortages. He described the former Christmas Eve deadline as not "long enough."

The British Retail Consortium also warned that significant disruption to Christmas was inevitable unless the problem was contained. The shortage of up to 100,00 heavy goods vehicle drivers has affected not only the food sector but other industries as well such as hospitality and social care.

A Cabinet Office release said that fuel haulage drivers from abroad will not be subjected to their previous barriers, explaining: "Hauliers will find licensed drivers to recruit and will submit applications to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy which will endorse applicants with the necessary license and a contract to work as a fuel driver."

The announcement also confirmed that 5,500 poultry workers will arrive in the UK from late October and be allowed to stay until the end of this year.

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