Relaxed rules for overseas lorry drivers in UK

26 October, 2021

The Government has relaxed the rules to allow overseas lorry drivers to make more deliveries in the UK in a bid to tackle supply chain problems in the run-up to Christmas.

Under the new plans, drivers will be able to make unlimited deliveries or collections within a 14 day period. Currently EU drivers can only make two pick-ups or drop-offs each week.

It is hoped that these changes will be in place by December, however UK drivers have expressed their concerns as they fear they could lose work to cheaper EU workers.

Last month, the government announced it would grant up to 5,000 temporary visas for HGV drivers from abroad, but so far only a fraction have been issued. What’s more, it’s been suggested that the first foreign drivers brought in on this visa scheme may arrive for another month.

The changes still need to be approved after a one-week consultation - but if passed they will come into force "towards the end of this year for up to six months", according to the government.

“We don’t want ‘cabotage’ to sabotage our industry. The government has been talking about a high-wage, high-skill economy, and not pulling the lever marked ‘uncontrolled immigration’, and to them this is exactly what it looks like: allowing overseas haulage companies and drivers to come over for perhaps up to six months on a fortnightly basis to do unlimited work at low rates, undercutting UK hauliers who are facing an acute driver shortage, rising costs, staff wages.”

Rod McKenzie, Managing Director of policy and public affairs at the Road Haulage Association
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