Temporary Leave to allow the employment of HGV Fuel Drivers- Genuine solution or PR stunt?

As many will have seen in the press of late, the UK Government have now introduced a Concession to allow HGV fuel tanker drivers to enter the UK to help relieve the current fuel shortage crisis.

The main thing to initially note about the scheme is that it only applies to drivers arriving from between 1 October 2021 and 15 October 2021.  This is an incredibly tight timescale and the scheme does not apply to anyone arriving after that date.

Any eligible driver arriving within the permitted date will be granted permission to enter and work in the UK as an HGV fuel tanker driver until 31 March 2022 provided that a Border Force Officer is satisfied that they meet the relevant eligibility requirements.

In order to be eligible, the worker must hold an EU, EEA or Swiss licence to drive an HGV fuel tanker and have been issued with an HGV fuel driver’s endorsement letter by The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Upon arrival, the worker must provide the relevant documentation to the Border Force Officer who requires to be satisfied that they are genuinely seeking entry for the purpose of undertaking employment as an HGV fuel tanker driver and that they will be able to maintain and accommodate themselves without recourse to public funds.  Unlike seasonal workers, there is no set minimum level of funds they require to hold in their bank account.  Provided that Border Force Officer is satisfied that the necessary requirements are met, the worker will be granted permission to enter and work in the UK as a fuel tanker driver for a specified employer until 31 March 2022.

It has been reported in the Press that the uptake of this scheme has been lower than anticipated.  One of the difficulties encountered here is the short timeframe in which workers require to arrive.  During this period they would require to make arrangements for their immediate employment, obtain their letter of endorsement from BEIS and thereafter travel to the UK.  It is therefore not entirely surprising that uptake has been low.

The scheme has been introduced in response to a short term critical issue which has very quickly become the focus of considerable public and press scrutiny.  Employers looking to make use of such schemes should continue to stay up-to-date with the most recent developments and guidance.  Although the scheme would appear to be coming to an end very soon, this does not mean that there will not be extensions nor does it mean that there will not be a requirement for further such workers.

Should you require any further information regarding the scheme or its operation, please contact our Iain Grant by email: igrant@gilsongray.co.uk or by phone: 0131 516 5375 / 07487 801 131. You can also view Iain’s profile by clicking here.

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