According to the Freight Transport Association (FTA) , the availability of EU workers after Brexit could be a major issue for the UK's freight and logistic sectors.
The UK Government has recently released a paper regarding the ability for EU workers to live and work in the UK after Brexit. However, there are still issues regarding the introduction of new workers' rights. One such issue is the potential delay caused by the new application process and a lack of skilled staff during this period. The FTA is working with the Government to ensure that this does not happen.
"EU workers are crucial to the success of the UK’s logistics industry – and thus to the success of the nation’s economy as a whole. With insufficient homegrown workers currently available, the Government needs to give careful consideration to how vacancies could be filled in the short and long term, to ensure that Britain keeps on trading, both domestically and internationally." Pauline Bastidon, Head of European Policy at FTA.
The latest proposals from the Government state that workers who have been continously living in the UK for at least five years will be able to stay in the country indefinitely with 'settled status'. What is currently unknown however is when the 'cut off' date for arrivals is for those who haven't lived here for five years.
"The Government must ensure that its post-Brexit immigration policy takes into account the needs of crucial industries such as logistics, and provide as much clarity as possible, as early as it is feasible, to allow industry to plan ahead and adapt. This advanced notice is vital to ensure that British business can keep moving, both in the UK and overseas."
EU workers make up approximately 13% of HGV drivers and 26% of warehouse operatives in the freight and logistic industries. Removing these workers could potentially be disastrous for the UK economy.