UK Transport Secretary eyes temporary visas for EU workers to ease staffing crisis at airports

Britain’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps reacts during an event marking the completion of the Elizabeth Line at Paddington Station in London, Britain May 17, 2022. REUTERS/Toby Melville

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June 11 (Reuters) – Britain’s Transport Minister Grant Shapps is considering issuing temporary visas to European Union workers to ease a staffing crisis at airports, The Telegraph reported on Saturday.

Plans are being discussed to issue baggage handlers and check-in staff with temporary visas similar to those issued to fruit pickers, musicians and religious figures, the report says.

Airports across Europe have struggled over the past week to cope with a rebound in demand, with UK airports in particular facing chaos as the half-term school holidays coincided with the weekend. end of platinum jubilee holiday.

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Shapps called an emergency meeting with senior aviation executives earlier this month, but rejected requests to add aviation workers to the list of shortage occupations, which would have made it easier to recruit overseas staff, The Telegraph reported.

However, Whitehall officials have since discussed potential alternatives with industry representatives, according to the report.

A prominent option would be to issue EU workers temporary visas to work in the aviation industry for up to six months, and industry leaders hope some can be transferred to a permanent visa at a later date. later, according to the report.

Britain left the European Union in January 2020.

The Department for Transportation did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

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Reporting by Shivam Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Angus MacSwan

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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