The Cabinet’s decision to agree with immigration recommendations from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) will affect road haulage.
This is the belief of the Road Haulage Association (RHA), who work in the interests of the wider road haulage industry in the UK, offering advice, training, information and business services for its members.
Earlier in September, MAC recommended that free movement from the EU should end once Brexit is confirmed, and the UK should instead seek a Canada-style system where there is no preferential access to the British labour market for EU citizens, or those of any other countries.
Associations tasked with maintaining the interests of road haulage firms attacked these plans.
However, the Cabinet has unanimously backed a system that is based on skills instead of nationality.
This plan, which will see “lower skilled” EU workers locked out of the market, is something the RHA believes will harm the road haulage sector.
Richard Burnett, Chief Executive at the Association, labelled it as a “bitter pill” for the sector, and something that will worsen the shortages that already exist in road haulage.
He said: “Government inertia is already choking this industry’s efforts to attract new talent.
“The trailblazer apprenticeship scheme is mired in red tape and underfunded, and the sector has only had access to £10 million of the £130 million it has paid into the Apprenticeship Levy.
“The driver shortage is getting worse, yet the government proposes to adopt a system that will make it even harder to recruit the people we need to keep the economy moving.”
If the government only prioritises high skilled workers from the EU, it risks harming sectors that use employees that would not necessarily come under that bracket, but their worth to businesses and the wider economy cannot be overstated.
As a result, the RHA wants the government to match the migration needs of businesses in the haulage industry.