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Recruiting HGV Drivers from Overseas

Recruiting HGV drivers in England from Scotland and Wales has become more difficult due to a shortage of qualified drivers. Recruiters are now looking overseas to other countries to fill the demand.

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The Shortage of HGV Drivers in the UK

One of the most pressing challenges facing the transport industry in the UK today is the shortage of HGV drivers. Since 2019, HGV drivers employed throughout the UK have steadily fallen year-over-year, and now the industry faces its greatest labor shortage since 2001.

The cause of the shortage is two-fold: an aging workforce and a lack of interest from young people in joining the driving workforce (and similar jobs). The only age group not showing a decline in labor force participation is 36-45, and there aren’t enough young workers joining the profession to make up for the retirees.

For this reason, more companies are turning to recruiting HGV drivers from overseas. This is not a new phenomenon – in fact, the UK has been recruiting HGV drivers from other countries for many years.

How to Recruit Overseas Drivers

Recruiting overseas drivers can be a challenge, but there are a few steps that can make the process easier.

It is important to have a clear understanding of the qualifications that are required for the position. Drivers should have a clean driving record and experience driving in the country where they will be working. Once the qualifications have been established, the next step is to identify potential candidates. Finally, it is important to follow up with each of the candidates to ensure that they meet all of the requirements for the position.

But that’s all easier said than done. We have reviewed some of the most common questions and concerns that UK companies face when recruiting HGV-class drivers from overseas from how to to the visas they need.

What are the qualifications needed to drive an HGV in the UK?

An HGV licence holder must be 18 years of age or older and have held a full driving licence for at least 12 months. The driver must also pass the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification, which consists of both theoretical and practical tests.

Additionally, as with any foreign worker, the candidate must have a clean criminal record and meet the minimum requirements for immigration into the UK.

How Can I Find Highly-Qualified Candidates?

There are a few ways to find potential HGV drivers from overseas. One is to post full-time jobs on an international job board or website. Another is to use a recruitment agency that specializes in finding workers for the transport and logistics industry.

When posting a job ad, it is important to be clear about the requirements, such as a valid HGV licence and clean criminal record. It is also important to state the full range of salary and benefits available.

It is also a good idea to include information about the company, such as its size, location, and culture. This will help potential candidates learn more about the company and decide if it is a good fit for them.

If using a recruitment agency, it is important to choose one that is reputable and has experience in recruiting HGV drivers. The agency should be able to provide a list of potential candidates that meet the requirements.

How Can I Assess the Skills of an Overseas Driver?

When looking to recruit drivers from overseas, it is important to assess their skills and experience. This can be done by asking for references and conducting interviews.

Depending on their country of origin, overseas candidates may need to take a driving test in order to obtain a UK licence. The test will assess their ability to drive on UK roads and follow the rules of the road. If the driver will be deployed outside the UK but employed in Britain, they will also need an International Driving Permit or all appropriate local licences.

If you’re hiring a private operator, you’ll need to verify their insurance status to protect yourself from liability. When you’re ready to move forward with an offer, make sure you’re compliant with the UK’s employment law by drawing up a contract of employment. It’s a good practice to offer a fixed term contract that matches the length of the worker’s visa.

What is the Process for Bringing Workers Over to the UK?

There are a few different ways to bring in HGV drivers from overseas. The most common is to apply for a Skilled Worker Visa (which has replaced the old Tier 2 General visa). This allows skilled workers to come to the UK to fill job titles that cannot be filled by British citizens or other European Union nationals. For HGV drivers, the job must be on the Shortage Occupation List.

In order to obtain a visa for a worker, you’ll need to obtain a sponsorship licence from the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) agency. This will allow you to sponsor overseas workers for a Skilled Worker visa.

IAS can help you with the sponsorship application process and can also advise you on the best way to bring your workers over to the UK. We have a team of experienced immigration solicitors who can assist you every step of the way.

Get in touch with us today to find out more about recruiting HGV drivers from overseas.

Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to receive assistance on sponsoring HGV overseas drivers.

What are the Costs Associated with Recruiting Overseas Drivers?

The cost of recruiting HGV drivers from overseas will vary depending on the country of origin and the salary you are willing to pay. You will also need to factor in the cost of applying for a sponsorship licence and the cost of applying for visas. This amount will be between £625 to £1,423 depending on your individual circumstances.

There is also a health surcharge of £624. Plus, you will need to cover the costs of airfare and accommodation for your new recruits. If you can’t, the employee will be required to prove that they can support themselves financially while they’re in the UK.

How Long Does It Take to Bring an Overseas Driver to the UK?

It can take up to 8 weeks to get a sponsorship licence, but it usually doesn’t take that long. Once you have your licence, you can start recruiting HGV drivers from overseas. The visa process can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks.

The sooner you start the process, the sooner you can have HGV drivers from overseas working for your company. Waiting too long to start the process can delay your recruitment efforts and put you at a competitive disadvantage.

What Are the Most Common Mistakes Companies Make When Recruiting Overseas Drivers?

The biggest pitfalls companies face when recruiting HGV drivers from overseas are failing to do their research and not being prepared to invest the time and money required to make the process successful.

Many companies try to recruit HGV drivers from countries where the driving standards are lower than in the UK, without taking into account the fact that these drivers will need to undergo additional training to be able to drive safely in the UK.

Similarly, companies often don’t appreciate the time and money required to obtain the necessary visas and work permits for overseas drivers. This can lead to delays in getting drivers on the road, and additional costs which could have been avoided with proper planning.

To avoid these mistakes, companies should make sure that they:

  • Fully understand the UK’s driving standards and what training will be required for overseas drivers
  • Plan ahead to allow for the time needed to obtain visas and work permits
  • Make use of a recruiting agency that has experience in recruiting HGV drivers from overseas.

With proper planning and guidance, recruiting HGV drivers from overseas can be a quick and cost-effective way to address driver shortages.

How Can I Mitigate the Risks of Recruiting Overseas Drivers?

There are a number of steps that companies can take to mitigate the risks associated with recruiting HGV drivers from overseas:

  • Carry out thorough research on the UK’s driving standards and what training will be required for overseas drivers.
  • Ensure that all communication with potential candidates is clear and concise.
  • Provide comprehensive induction and training programs for all new recruits. This should include both classroom-based and on-the-road training.
  • Make sure that all commercial vehicles are well-maintained and fit for purpose.
  • Ensure that there is an adequate support network in place for overseas drivers, including access to interpreters if necessary.
  • Perform comprehensive background checks on all new recruits.

There will always be risks associated with hiring foreign drivers, but you can protect yourself by being diligent and carefully screening all candidates.

If you have any questions about hiring HGV overseas drivers, our team is happy to assist.

Can Overseas Workers Immigrate With Their Families?

Yes, if they have the necessary visas. The UK has a points-based immigration system which assesses candidates on a number of factors including their skills, qualifications and experience. If they meet the required criteria, they will be allowed to apply for a work visa. If they are successful, they will be able to bring their families with them to the UK.

If a Candidate is Ineligible for a UK Work Visa, Can They Still Apply for a Job?

No, all candidates must have the necessary visas in order to be considered for a job. The UK government has strict rules in place regarding immigration and only those with the correct documentation will be allowed to enter the country.

Candidates who do not have the correct visas will not be able to apply for a job. Furthermore, if you hire someone who is not eligible to work in the UK, you could face severe penalties. This includes a fine of up to £20,000 per illegal worker, as well as the possibility of a jail sentence.

The Benefits of Recruiting Overseas Drivers

There are many benefits to recruiting foreign drivers. First and foremost, it allows companies to tap into a larger pool of potential employees to fill HGV driver jobs. This can be especially helpful when there is a shortage of qualified drivers in the local market.

Additionally, recruiting overseas drivers can help to reduce labor costs. In many cases, drivers from parts of Asia or Eastern Europe are willing to work for lower wages than their counterparts in developed nations. This can be a major advantage for companies operating on tight budgets.

Finally, recruiting overseas drivers can help to improve the quality of service offered by a company. By hiring drivers from other countries, companies can ensure that their employees are well-trained and experienced in dealing with a variety of customer service scenarios. As a result, customers are more likely to have a positive experience when they use the services of a company that recruits overseas drivers.

The Challenges of Recruiting Overseas Drivers

When it comes to recruiting drivers, there are a few unique challenges that come with recruiting from overseas. First and foremost, there is the language barrier. It can be difficult to find drivers who speak English fluently, which can make communications during the hiring process and beyond difficult.

Then there are cultural differences that need to be taken into account. For example, overseas drivers may not be familiar with our country’s laws and regulations regarding trucking. This can lead to problems down the road if they are not properly educated on these things before being hired.

Plus, recruitment costs can be higher when recruiting from overseas due to travel expenses and the need to ship equipment overseas. Despite these challenges, however, recruiting from overseas can be a great way to find qualified drivers who bring valuable skills and experience to the table.

For assistance with sponsoring or obtaining a visa for an HGV driver, get in touch with us today.

How can IAS Help

The HGV driver shortage in the UK is a real problem that impacts businesses and consumers alike. One solution to this problem is recruiting overseas drivers. While there are some challenges to recruiting internationally, such as language barriers and different driving regulations, there are also many advantages, such as a larger pool of potential candidates and the benefits of having a diverse workforce.

If you’re thinking about recruiting internationally for your trucking company, IAS is here to help. We have a wealth of experience in recruiting workers from all over the world, and we can provide you with the resources and support you need to make the process as smooth and successful as possible. Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help you recruit HGV drivers from overseas whether you’re in London, East Sussex, or beyond.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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