European truck drivers have declined British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s proposed three-month working visa for European truckers, according to an opinion poll by the Independent.
The government had announced on Sunday that it plans to issue temporary visas for 5,000 foreign truck drivers to tackle the acute shortfall of truck drivers that has led to shortage of fuel across petrol stations in the country.
Jakub Pajka, a Polish truck driver who quit his job in the UK after Brexit, reacting to the visa offer, which expires on December 24, said it wasn’t long enough for consideration.
“No thank you, Mr Prime Minister, I will not take advantage of this opportunity. No drivers want to move for only three months just to make it easier for the British to organise their holidays,” Jakub said.
He added that the additional money wasn’t sufficient to cover the cost of migrating to another country or the threat posed by migrants trying to cross the English Channel on the back of a truck or the separation from their families.
“The money you can earn in the UK does not compensate such driver for all the dangerous things that happen to him there,” he said pointing to the scuffles with migrants he witnessed in ports of Calais and Dunkirk.
Jacek Rembikowski, a 60-year old truck driver with 25 years of experience, speaking with the Independent also credited Brexit as the crucial factor that informed his decision to return home after working in Britain for seven years.
Jacek said that in spite of his desire for sojourn and adventure, as well as his fond memories driving from “Norway to Portugal,” he now prefers conditions in his native Poland.
“(There was) an uncertainty as to how we will be treated in this situation,” he said. “Whether Brexit will shake up not only the industry but also whether drivers will still be wanted.”
Imran Mustafa left Pakistan to Barcelona eight years ago where he has been working as a haulage driver for three years. He dismissed the UK visa offer as being too short, leaving little time for one to get acquainted with the road network.
He said: “It’s a temporary visa and it’s for a very small time period.
“These days, people don’t have the money to travel. No-one wants to travel for just three months.
“I could move as I live on my own but other people, French people, German people, Spanish people, they’re already earning a lot of money, so why would they move to the UK for three months only on a temporary visa?
“I would move but not for three months. It’s not enough time as we don’t know the roads, the maps or how it all works. I think it will create a lot of problems or accidents.”