London truck driver campaign: Industry doubts temporary visas for truckers

There is a lack of truck drivers across Europe. Brexit makes this problem all too clear. The result: empty supermarket shelves and dry gas stations. London wants to counteract this with temporary visas for truckers. But the industry is skeptical, after all, work should also become more attractive.

The British Visa plans for up to 5,000 foreign truck drivers to cope with delivery bottlenecks are increasingly met with skepticism in the industry. “Nobody will accept that,” said the head of the Federal Association of Freight Transport, Logistics and Disposal (BGL), Dirk Engelhardt, in London. He doesn’t know of anyone who has applied. Eastern European professionals are rather angry about the actions of the British government.

“London wanted Brexit, now they are getting it,” said Engelhardt, referring to the new, strict British immigration rules. Since January 1st, EU citizens need expensive visas when they come to work in the UK. The UK government recently announced that 127 visas had been issued to tanker truck drivers.

Truck drivers are also desperately wanted in the EU, with 60,000 to 80,000 specialists missing in Germany alone, said the BGL boss. Because they have more secure jobs in the EU and salaries are currently rising significantly, the skilled workers would prefer a job in the international community. Around 30,000 truck drivers also retired each year, but in recent years only between 15,000 and 20,000 truck driver’s licenses have been acquired each year. This makes the gap even bigger. The working conditions would have to become more attractive in order to remedy this. The 5,000 British visas with which the government in London wants to attract workers are limited to a few months. That is a bad perspective, said Engelhardt.

There is a lack of truck drivers in Europe, if not worldwide. However, the Brexit with the immigration rules has exacerbated the situation in Great Britain. There were recently repeated empty supermarket shelves due to bottlenecks, and petrol stations dried up.