UK to grant 10,500 post-Brexit visas amid labor shortages

The UK will grant up to 10,500 provisional work visas in response to labor shortages, an unexpected turn in immigration after the Brexit taken on Saturday by the government.

These three-month permits, from October to December, should make up for a glaring shortage of truck drivers but also of staff in key sectors of the British economy, such as poultry farming.

In recent days and despite calls from the government not to panic, gas stations have been taken by storm due to stockouts which also affect the shelves of agri-food products.

This decision to reopen the floodgates of professional immigration goes against the line defended by Prime Minister Boris Johnson whose government continues to insist that the United Kingdom no longer depends on the workforce foreign.

Other exceptional measures in the pipeline

For months, the government tried to avoid it, despite warnings from many economic sectors and the estimated shortage of 100,000 truck drivers.

In addition to these work visas, other exceptional measures should ensure supplies before the Christmas holidays, said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Examiners from the Ministry of Defense will be mobilized to pass thousands of heavy goods vehicle licenses in the coming weeks.

The Department of Education and its partner agencies will release millions of pounds to train 4,000 truckers by setting up training camps to step up the pace.

"Play the game"

Mr. Shapps also called on employers to play the game "by continuing to improve working conditions and wages to retain new drivers".

Under pressure, the government will beat the recall of all HGV license holders: a million letters must go to ask those who do not drive to return to work.

Boris Johnson was facing increasing pressure. The Covid-19 crisis and the consequences of Brexit have accentuated the shortages, which are combined with soaring energy prices.

Factories, restaurants, supermarkets have been affected by the lack of truck drivers for weeks, even months.

Fast food chain McDonald's ran out of milkshakes and drinks last month. Competitor KFC has been forced to remove items from its menu, while the Nando's chain has temporarily closed dozens of restaurants for lack of chickens.