Government extends temporary visa scheme
A temporary visa scheme that the government announced just last month is already being extended due to a low number of applicants. The temporary visa scheme was introduced as a way to tackle labour shortages that have come as a result of Brexit and COVID-19.
In September the government announced that there would be 5500 Temporary Worker Visas available for poultry workers and a further 5000 available for HGV drivers. However, the visas were only supposed to be valid for 12 weeks and would become invalid on Christmas eve.
The Prime Minister claimed that 127 EU workers had applied for the visa, but shortly after this the government corrected this number to just 27 applicants.
Now, the government has been forced to extend the scheme up until the 31st March 2022 in hopes that that will attract more EU workers.
Government was warned the scheme wouldn’t work
After its announcement of the new temporary worker scheme, the government came under criticism with many experts claiming that it would not appeal to EU workers.
When it was first announced The Road Haulage Association said that the new visa scheme “barely scratches the surface”, and added that only offering the visas until Christmas Eve “will not be enough for companies or the drivers themselves to be attractive”.
Experts had also warned that the number of visas offered was not enough. Ruby McGregor-Smith, president of the British Chambers of Commerce said:
“Even if these short-term opportunities attract the maximum amount of people allowed under the scheme, it will not be enough to address the scale of the problem that has now developed in our supply chains.”
How has the scheme been extended?
Since the scheme was announced, problems within the supply chain for the fuel industry have continued and the government has had to call in the military to aid with fuel deliveries.
As a result, the government announced that the temporary visa scheme has been extended so that 300 fuel tanker drivers can enter the UK and remain here until March 2022.
As well the scheme has been extended to allow a further 4,700 food haulage drivers to stay in the UK until February 2022 and the visa validity for poultry workers has also been extended by a week.
Speaking about the low numbers of applications, Rod McKenzie, policy director of the Road Haulage Association said:
“I’m not surprised by the low visa application numbers. Boris Johnson has to take responsibility for the nationwide shortfall in HGV drivers, which is estimated to be around 100,000.”
“The temporary visas have not been sold in an attractive way to European drivers. Why would lorry drivers give up a job in Europe for a short gig in the UK? We always said 12-month visas were needed for 15,000 drivers, and for hauliers to be placed on the shortage occupation list,”
How can IAS help?
If you want to work in the UK temporarily then our immigration lawyers can help. We provide reliable immigration assistance with Temporary Worker Visa applications. One of our lawyers can assess whether you are eligible for a Temporary Worker Visa, can fill in the application form on your behalf, help you to gather all of the required supporting documents and will even communicate with the Home Office for you.
If you want to work in the UK on a more permanent basis, our lawyers can also help you to explore your immigration options during an advice session. We offer application assistance for all of the UK work visas, including the Skilled Worker Visa.
UK visa applications can be complex and a small mistake could result in your application being refused, our lawyers will make sure that your application is completed to the highest standard. For more information about our services get in touch today on 0333 455 3524.
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