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Tim Ridyard, from Ashton's Legal, explains what we know about the Government's HGV driver visa scheme



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As food shortages continue in some of our supermarkets, more information has now been provided by the Government concerning temporary short-term visas for HGV drivers engaged in food transportation.

Full information about the scheme has not yet been disclosed.

But DEFRA has said:

Tim Ridyard, of Ashton's Legal (52025193)
Tim Ridyard, of Ashton's Legal (52025193)
  • 4,700 visas will be available for drivers in the food sector and 300 will be available via this route for fuel driver visas. There is a separate number of visas available for poultry sector workers.
  • The visas will last no more than three months. For HGV drivers, there is an application final deadline of December 1, 2021 – meaning for them the scheme would expire at the latest at the end of February 2022
  • Potential employers cannot source drivers directly for this scheme. Instead, they must go through one of only four ‘Operators’ contracted for this: AG Recruitment, Concordia, Fruitful Jobs and Pro-Force. This is on a first-come, first-serve basis although operators will vet all applications.
  • There will be no specific Government guidance on pay and working conditions but these will need to be attractive given the maximum visa period is three months. The would-be employer and operator facilitating the driver/worker entry into the UK will have to consider covering visa and service charges, travel, accommodation and other expenses.
  • Where the driver is engaged in the transport of food to retailers, the Christmas period will need to be targeted.
  • Businesses that require drivers or workers will have to enter an agreement with one of the four contracted operators who will then be a sponsor for the temporary workers. The process for granting of the visa involves many steps so businesses should therefore take action quickly to secure visas.

-- Tim Ridyard provides niche advice in the area of road transport law, including operator licensing. Contact him on 0330 404 0749 or email tim.ridyard@ashtonslegal.co.uk

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