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UK Immigration alert - HGV drivers

  • United Kingdom
  • Employment law
  • Consumer
  • Food and drink


The Home Office has recently released two routes to temporarily deal with the shortage of HGV drivers in the UK:

  • a temporary visa scheme for HGV drivers to transport food; and
  • a concession for temporary leave to allow employment as HGV fuel drivers.

HGV drivers to transport food: Temporary visa scheme

Key takeaways:

  • the temporary visa scheme is for HGV drivers to transport food goods
  • temporary visas will only be available to 4,700 HGV drivers
  • the sponsors (also called scheme operators) are:
    • AG Recruitment
    • Concordia
    • Fruitful Jobs
    • Pro-Force
  • individual employers cannot act as a sponsor for Seasonal Workers including HGV drivers
  • each sponsor has a different application process but HGV food drivers allocated through the scheme must have an HGV licence recognised for use in the UK (they must hold a HGV (category C or C+E) licence).
  • the individual must apply by 1 December and all visas will expire on 28 February 2022. (The scheme is expected to open at 4pm on 11 October 2021)
  • the scheme only applies to EU, EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or Swiss licence holders only
  • the individual must apply for a visa before entering the UK and individuals in the UK cannot switch in-country

Read here for further details regarding the Food transport: temporary visa scheme.

Employment as HGV fuel drivers: concession for temporary leave

The concession allows non-visa nationals (such as EU/EEA/Swiss nationals) to come to the UK and work as HGV fuel tanker drivers without having to apply for a visa before entering the UK. Rather, these individual can seek permission to enter the UK at the border.

Key points:

  • the concession only applies to non-visa nationals
  • the individual must hold an EU, EEA or Swiss licence to drive HGV fuel tankers (HGV category C or C+E plus current accreditation for the transport of fuel further to the international convention about dangerous goods transport)
  • the individual must have been issued with an HGV fuel driver’s endorsement letter by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
  • the individual must arrive in the UK for the purpose of undertaking employment, as an HGV fuel tanker driver between 1 October 2021 and 15 October 2021
  • the individual can work for their specified employer until 31 March 2022
  • dependents are not permitted through this route unless they meet the Immigration Rules separately

Read here for further details regarding Employment as HGV fuel drivers: concession for temporary leave


The two routes introduced by the government are welcomed as it will alleviate some of the pressure that the Consumer sector is facing through the shortage of HGV drivers. However, the two routes are very narrow and for a short period of time. This therefore raises a question as to whether or not the temporary visa scheme is attractive enough to entice HGV drivers to apply.