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UK Businesses Worry About Christmas Time Skilled Worker Shortages



Businesses are worried about the shortfall in lorry drivers, warehouse workers and temporary agriculture pickers, which could affect shelf stocking this winter and Christmas period.


The chairman of Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket group, advised the guardian, that we need more drivers to meet an estimated 100,000 shortfall. “I think there may be some shortages at Christmas”, he warned. “At the moment we’re running very hard just to keep on top of the existing demand and there isn’t the capacity to build stocks that we’d like to see."


Before Brexit many EU workers came to the UK to fill gaps in the labour market, particularly in unqualified jobs. The new Brexit regulation has stopped this wave of workers to help UK businesses and now the market needs the British labour workforce to react. A Home Office spokesperson told the Guardian, “The British people repeatedly voted to end free movement and take back control of our immigration system. Employers should invest in our domestic workforce instead of relying on labour from abroad."


The industry urges that heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers need to be added in the essential and skilled worker list, alongside the flexibility of Visas for European workers, who used to fill this labour market gap. Workers from Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Czech Republic and other countries, have been affected by these new strict rules after Brexit.

Christmas time is round the corner and the British consumer and small trader are taking economic actions already; planning, budgeting, and buying, in order to have enough stock for winter and Christmas time. British companies are worried about empty shelves and shortages for the upcoming season.

How can we help? 

If you’d like to know more about immigration for Skilled Workers, take a look at our free GMCC Bitesize session -The points- Based Immigration system. Please register here

The session will look at the points-based immigration system and related areas including the following key considerations:

  • Skilled Worker Licences - how to apply and the initial costs

  • Skilled Worker visa - requirements and anticipated costs

  • EU Nationals - what is their position within the system

  • Pre-settled and Settled status - right to live and work in the UK for 5 years or indefinitely

  • Other potential visa and work routes: Graduates; Youth Mobility Scheme; Hong Kong British National; Ancestry

  • Remote working - no visa required, but what are the other issues?

  • Considerations for businesses - recruitment needs; additional costs; HR systems

  • Compliance - record keeping; reporting duties; complying with employment and immigration laws


Advice and Support 


We have also experts who can provide more tailor advice, so if interested, please just drop us an email at exportbritain@gmchamber.co.uk.  

Sources: The Guardian

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