Facing Post-Brexit Petrol Shortage, UK Issues Emergency Visas for EU Truck Drivers
Slashdot reader AleRunner tipped us off to some excitement in the UK:
The British government said on Friday it may draft in the army to help deliver gas after shortages caused by a scarcity of truck drivers forced the closure of stations across the country. The haulage industry said there was a shortfall of some 100,000 drivers, and that could also lead to shortages of turkeys and toys this Christmas. Some 25,000 drivers returned to Europe after Brexit, and the pandemic halted the qualification process for new workers…

Gas is just the latest thing that people in the U.K. are finding hard to come by after its departure from the European Union. Previously McDonald’s has been forced to take milkshakes off the menu, KFC has run short on chicken and supermarket shelves have been left bare. The crisis is already beginning to bite in other areas of life, with 18 percent of adults saying they have been unable to buy essential food items in the past two weeks, according to the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics. The pandemic means that many countries are facing supply chain problems, as manufacturing centers in Asia are hit by continuing cases and restrictions.

Now the Associated Press reports the government has decided to issue thousands of emergency visas to foreign truck drivers:

Post-Brexit immigration rules mean newly arrived EU citizens can no longer work visa-free in Britain, as they could when the U.K. was a member of the trade bloc. Trucking companies have been urging the British government to loosen immigration rules so drivers can more easily be recruited from across Europe…

One cause of the trucker shortage is a backlog caused by the suspension of driver testing for months during Britain’s coronavirus lockdowns. The government has already increased testing capacity, as well as extending the number of hours that drivers can work each week, prompting safety concerns. The government said military driving examiners would be pulled in to further boost civilian testing capacity.

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