Government immigration policy will put UK supply chain at risk, says RHA

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The Road Haulage Association has joined calls for the government to provide more details on its ‘points system’ for immigrants and the criteria for establishing the basis of ‘skilled’ work .

Earlier this week the Home Office said that from 1 January 2021, freedom of movement for European Union citizens in the UK will end. A points-based immigration system will grant immigration status based on an appropriate job offer, English language skills, and a salary threshold of £25,600.

The RHA said it was extremely concerned that the ability to drive a HGV was not considered to be a skill. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” said RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett.

“Profit margins are so low, between 1% and 2%, that employers simply cannot afford to train new drivers. They need to employ those that are already qualified but with a 60,000 shortfall this is impossible.

“It’s a triple whammy,” said Burnett. “We’re not getting the money to train new drivers, the driver shortage isn’t recognised and now we’re being told that operators can’t employ immigrants to fill staff rotas.

“Many UK operators are totally reliant on European drivers. Putting a stop to the immigrant workforce will have a massive impact on the supply chain, and the next-day deliveries we have all come to expect will be a thing of the past.

“95% of all goods in the UK have made the journey to their ultimate destination on the back of a truck and the UK economy is totally reliant on an efficient supply chain network. It cannot be allowed to grind to a halt as a result of government short-sightedness.”

Rod McKenzie, MD of policy and public affairs at the RHA, will be speaking at the Automation and Innovation Conference at IntraLogisteX 2020 on 1 April at 11.15am… as part of a line-up that includes DHL Supply Chain, Swisslog, Boots, Locus Robotics, the FTA and Wincanton. 

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