Huge numbers of enquiries made from international HGV drivers for jobs in Yorkshire

High levels of enquiries are being made by international drivers hoping to apply for the temporary visa scheme announced by the Government earlier this week

The national shortage of HGV drivers is having a very local impact at Harrogate-based law firm Truth Legal.

Solicitor and director Louis MacWilliam said his team is receiving a high number of enquiries at its offices in Harrogate and Leeds from drivers in Europe, but also from drivers based further afield in India, South Africa and Venezuela.

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The temporary visa scheme for HGV drivers has been widely touted by the Government as a key part of its response to supply chain pressures expected to bite in the run-up to Christmas. But the scheme has also been widely criticised by some industry experts, who view it as a drop-in-the-ocean approach to a much larger problem.

The HGV driver shortage is causing huge problems.

Truth Legal said that from an immigration law perspective, there remains a lack of clarity about how the scheme will work in practice. Migrant workers generally need a UK employer to sponsor them before they can come to the UK, even temporarily. And UK employers need a Home Office licence before they can sponsor a migrant worker.

“If an employer doesn’t have a sponsor licence already, the process of getting one can take weeks or even months”, says Louis, Head of Immigration at Truth Legal.

“It’s not yet clear how this will mesh with the Government’s plans to open the scheme in October, and close it on Christmas Eve”.

And that’s not the only potential headache for immigration lawyers.

“The Home Office won’t normally grant a sponsor licence unless the migrant worker is directly employed by their sponsor”, continues Louis. “There’s some indication the Government wants agencies to be responsible for recruitment of HGV drivers, but again there’s no clarity about how this will work alongside existing sponsorship structures”.