Foreign interest in UK truck driving positions is greatest in countries whose drivers’ qualifications are not recognized in Britain, according to figures that raise doubts about the practicality of the government’s plan to tackle the country’s supply chain crisis by issuing short-term visas.
The number of overseas job seekers clicking on advertisements for HGV managers in the UK has doubled in the days after the government announced that they resolve migration restrictions, according to Indeed, the online job site – but most of the interest comes from outside the EU. Inquiries from non-EU jobseekers increased sixfold and accounted for 6.5 percent of clicks on every job that took place by the end of September — double the number of inquiries from EU candidates, Indeed said.
Indeed, did not disclose figures for household interest in HGV advertisements.
‘All eyes are on our European neighbors to see if the offer of 5,000 temporary visas will urge EU executives to return to the UK for work. . . we may be looking in the wrong direction, ”said Jack Kennedy, an economist at Indeed. He added that the UK’s supply could be unattractive in EU countries where demand for drivers has risen even faster, raising wages.
The figures reinforce fears among UK businesses that the new visa scheme will do so makes little difference to the recruitment crisis in the transport industry.
Ministers said 300 fuel tank drivers could come to the UK immediately to alleviate the situation with petrol proposals, which remain critical despite the deployment of hundreds of military personnel on Monday to help with deliveries.
The Petrol Retailers Association, which represents the independent retailers that make up about two-thirds of the UK’s 8,000 filling stations, said on Monday that although the national situation had improved, supply remained “challenging” in London and the South East.
A fifth of the members’ filling stations were still dry, and 18 percent had only one degree of fuel. In the rest of the country, only 8 percent of the courts were dry Monday morning.
The visa scheme allows another 4,700 transport managers to work in the food supply chain, arriving between the end of October and the beginning of December and leaving at the end of February.
But the government has confirmed that drivers entering the three-month visa need a license issued by an EU member state, an EEA state or Switzerland.
Indeed’s figures show that the biggest interest was from countries such as India, South Africa and Nigeria, whose managers could not take a job in the UK without long retraining. Kieran Smith, chief executive of recruitment agency Driver Require, said his firm was refusing inquiries from managers whose qualifications were not being recognized.
Sally Gilson, policy manager at the Road Haulage Association, said it took several years before Ireland set up a new visa scheme to recognize and introduce South African drivers.
But qualifications were not the only practical obstacle to using the new scheme, she added. Employers will be expected to find managers who find suitable short-term accommodation, which can be difficult to organize and expensive. “I do not see it being viable for smaller businesses,” she said.
Employers will also only be able to get managers through one of the four contracted operators – selected because they have already been approved to bring in seasonal farm workers, but with limited experience in the transport industry.
Additional Reporting by Tom Wilson