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The UK will issue up to 10,500 temporary work visas to respond to a labor shortage, an unexpected shift in immigration after Britain’s recent exit from the European Union.

The permits will be for three months, from October to December, and should ease massive shortages of transport and staff in key sectors of the British economy, such as poultry farming.

In recent days, despite government attempts to reassure the population, a crowd of Britons has rushed towards gas stations, after selling many products in stores and supermarkets.

The decision to grant visas goes against the line defended by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose government has not stopped insisting that the UK should not depend on foreign labour.

For months, the executive branch has tried to avoid turning to outside workers, despite warnings from many economic sectors and an estimated shortage of 100,000 truck drivers.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps explained that in addition to work visas, other exceptional measures will be taken to ensure supplies before the Christmas holidays.

Thus, in the coming weeks, DoD examiners will be mobilized to certify thousands of permits for cargo vehicles.

The Ministry of Education and its partner agencies will release millions of pounds to train 4,000 truck drivers, and set up training camps.

Shapps also asked employers to help “by improving working conditions and wages to retain new drivers.”

In addition, a million messages will be sent asking people who have a truck driver’s license but do not use it, to go back to work.

Boris Johnson has to deal with the mounting pressure. The Covid-19 crisis and the consequences of Brexit have exacerbated the shortage, while energy prices have skyrocketed.

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Factories, restaurants and supermarkets have been affected by a shortage of truck drivers for weeks or even months.

Fast food chain McDonald’s ran out of shakes and syrups last month. Its rival KFC has had to remove some items from its menu, and the Nando chain has had to temporarily close dozens of restaurants because it did not have enough chicken to meet demand.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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