Britain will award up to 10,500 temporary work visas to lorry drivers and poultry workers to alleviate chronic personnel shortages, the government announced on Saturday, in a U-turn on post-Brexit immigration policy.
The short-term visas, which will be valid from next month until late December, come as minister’s battle with a significant shortage of drivers and other vital personnel, which has hampered gasoline supplies and other industries. A shortage of tanker drivers has generated long lines at gas stations in recent days, as customers ignore government warnings not to panic-buy fuel after some garages closed owing to a lack of supply.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to expand the vital worker visa system is a U-turn from his government, which has tightened post-Brexit immigration laws, saying that Britain’s reliance on foreign labor must stop. Despite a projected shortage of 100,000 heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers and warnings from numerous industries that supplies would run out, it has resisted the move for months.