- The UK is racing to find truck drivers
- The shortage of these drivers have caused an artificial fuel shortage
- A short-term visa program is being discussed
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The United Kingdom will begin a visa program to employ truck drivers. This decision follows an acute shortage of haulage trucks which has caused cars to be stranded in long cues at fuel stations.
A combination of the Covid pandemic and Brexit has left haulage firms struggling to recruit drivers.
Different government departments have discussed options with the industry, including bringing in such visas, the BBC has announced.
The industry is pushing for drivers to be added to the so-called Shortage Occupations list, allowing them to qualify for a skilled worker visa.
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"We need long-term solutions to recruit a new generation of British lorry drivers into the trade, but short-term there is an urgent need for foreign drivers to be allowed in, under the Shortage Occupations list," said Rod McKenzie, managing director of policy at the Road Haulage Association (RHA).
The government wants the industry to employ British haulers. But the industry said that it was impractical in the short term because of the immediacy of the need and the training costs involved.
Last week, transport minister Baroness Vere said she had discussed this issue with the haulage sector two years ago, adding: "It was very clear then that foreign labour would not be available to it."
Nevertheless, with the training for an HGV driver typically taking six to nine months, people within the industry insist urgent action is needed to overcome the immediate crisis.