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Legal Updates

Temporary Visa Scheme for HGV drivers and poultry workers

15 October 2021 #Immigration

The Government has announced further details of the temporary visa scheme for HGV food drivers and poultry workers, aimed to alleviate the UK’s national shortage.

The short-term scheme opened at 4pm on 11 October 2021, with the deadline for poultry worker applications being 15 November 2021 and the deadline for HGV food driver applications being 1 December 2021. Regardless of the application date, all temporary visas for poultry workers will expire on 31 December 2021 and all temporary visas for HGV food drivers will expire on 28 February 2022.

These temporary visas are capped at 5,500 for poultry workers and 4,700 for HGV food drivers, and the scheme falls within the already established Temporary Work - Seasonal Worker immigration route (formerly T5 Temporary Seasonal Worker).

To be eligible to sponsor temporary poultry workers and/or HGV food drivers, an organisation must be an ‘approved scheme operator’ in addition to holding a valid Temporary Worker – Seasonal Worker sponsor licence. Current approved scheme operators include AG Recruitment, Concordia, Fruitful Jobs, and Pro-Force.

Approved scheme operators are overarching bodies who hold an endorsement from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and who are licensed by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority. Individual employers and organisations do not qualify as approved scheme operators and therefore cannot apply for a Temporary Worker licence to sponsor temporary poultry workers or HGV food drivers under this scheme.

HGV fuel tanker drivers require additional safety qualifications above the category C or C+E licence which HGV food drivers are required to hold, and so are not eligible for a temporary visa under this scheme. The scheme has been criticised due to its strict criteria and multiple hoops to jump through, and time will tell if the scheme will lessen the national shortage, albeit on a temporary basis.

It is evident that the shortage of workers is a symptom of a larger problem within the haulage and food industries, and despite the Government’s efforts, a temporary visa scheme may not fix the underlying cause of this national shortage.

For further information on immigration contact our immigration lawyers.

Clarkslegal, specialist Immigration lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Immigration matter please contact Clarkslegal's immigration team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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Rebecca Hone

Rebecca Hone

T: 020 7539 8019
M: 0792 014 4780


Immigration team
+44 (0)20 7539 8000