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Can Christmas be saved? Temporary visa scheme launched for HGV drivers and poultry workers.

You may still get your turkey yet - an emergency visa scheme has been announced in a last ditch attempt to ease crippling recruitment woes.

Andrew Collier
Andrew Collier HR Adviser

This week the Home Office launched a temporary visa scheme to allow poultry workers and people undertaking haulage driving work involving transportation of food goods to come to the UK on the Seasonal Worker immigration route in response to the reduced availability of some food products in the run-up to Christmas. The visa scheme was launched on an emergency basis and came into effect at 4.00 pm on 11 October 2021.
Under the scheme, the Seasonal Worker route will now be open to the poultry production sector, which includes roles such as butchers, bird or game dressers, food operatives, pluckers - essentially the entire range of roles within the sector.   It is also open to haulage driving involving transportation of food goods, which means a role as a large goods vehicle driver and where the work involves the transportation of food goods.

Temporary visas will be available for 5,500 poultry workers and 4,700 HGV food drivers. To recruit temporary workers under the scheme, employers must request workers from one of four named scheme operators.  Poultry workers under the temporary visa scheme must apply by 15 November 2021 and, if successful, will be granted permission until 31 December 2021.  HGV drivers under the temporary visa scheme must apply by 1 December 2021 and, if successful, will be granted a slightly longer permission - until 28 February 2022.

Will this scheme be enough to save Christmas?  Or just a turkey of a scheme?  Time will tell. 
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