Trucks on a Highway

Temporary Visa Scheme for HGV Drivers & Poultry Workers

To deal with the issues of increasing supply chain issues, the Government decided to take back its decision not to offer UK visas to unskilled labour and presented a scheme to give visas to HGV drivers, poultry workers, and now pork butchers from abroad.

The policy allows many people earlier considered unskilled and refused a UK visa will be able to get a UK visa and be able to work, settle and build a life in the UK.

The Issue     ​

The European Nationals were allowed to work in the UK without any restrictions earlier based on skills as the UK has a point-based immigration system.

Since the Brexit changes were implemented, a work visa known as Skilled workers visa is required by all the European National citizens to work in the UK with legal authorisation.

But HGV drivers and other workers related to food production were not considered to fit the criteria of skilled workers and not considered eligible for Skilled workers visas.

But after practical implementation and due to circumstances arising due to the employers returning to their home countries after Brexit and the shortage of labour due to Coronavirus, the Government decided to take back that policy to overcome the impact it had on food supply chains.

Date of Announcement

The policy was announced on 25 September 2021.

According to the policy, temporary work visas will be offered to 5,500 poultry workers and 5,000 HGV food drivers for the duration to enable them to work till Christmas Evening.

Other than 300 visas were also announced to be given on an urgent basis to HGV drivers to manage the shortage of labour for the transportation of fuel at the pumps.

The duration of the visa was also extended then for the till 28 February 2022 workers instead of Christmas Evening for the workers working as food haulage drivers and till 31 December 2021 labours of the poultry industry.

At the start, the aim of this policy only seemed to be to deal with the shortage of food at the supermarkets at the moment to maintain a better supply chain for Christmas and not the issues on a long-term basis.

But with the increments in the deadlines recently it is believed that there will be further changes in the policy.

More changes that were made in the policy were regarding 800 more urgent work visas for the pork butchers that will be valid for 6 months.

Other butchers have already been included in the list of occupations considered as Skilled workers and are eligible to get Skilled workers visas but it is not sure that whether that would stay forever as the administrative costs and the minimum salary threshold can make it difficult to continue to offer these visas permanently. 

The Route for Seasonal Workers

German EU Passport

The government has announced 4 operators that will have authority to sponsor workers who want to work under this category.

Employers connected with any of the mentioned industries need to contract with one of the Government announced operators if they wish to hire any worker on a temporary work visa.

The fees structures and rules and regulations of each one of the operators was different from the other one.

One of the factors causing variations is whether the employer who contracted wants the operator to offer the employee a work sponsorship immigration lawyer on their behalf or will be willing to sponsor the worker.

Hence employers need the operator that suits them.

What Next?​

Even though Government has been persistent about the temporary workers scheme that works visas to unskilled labor will be only allotted only to a foreigner under UK domestic workforce visa rules.

But still, extensions in the visa of butchers and concessions in the visa policies for HGV food drivers and poultry workers were made as an exception due to increased supply chain pressure.

It is still to be seen that whether there will be any more extensions and concessions to other industries other than fuel, food haulage, and poultry and pig farming will be given or not due to continuously increasing supply chains, pressure from media and public discontent,

In nutshell, there is a clear need to allow foreign men forced to join workers in the UK.

It is assumed that with time it would be needed for many sectors and organisations need to have a legal way to hire foreign employees at the time of need, so Government might be looking into making some major policy changes in this regard.

In case you want to know more about how a temporary work visa will impact your family or want to know if you could bring your family to the UK too on a temporary work visa then you must contact family law solicitors.