'The UK? No way!': European HGV drivers on why a three-month visa won't tempt them to UK

Jakub Borzykowski, a Polish HGV driver who works in Germany, says that despite the possibility of earning an extra £6,000, the visa on offer is too short-term for him to consider moving to the UK

A Polish HGV driver working in Germany has told ITV News he could earn an extra £2,000 per month if he came to work in the UK amid the current shortage, but says the current three-month visa offered by the government is too short for him to move countries.

Meanwhile, other drivers from Europe told ITV News they were uninterested in the job offer, citing language barriers, Covid restrictions and Brexit uncertainty as key issues.

Over the weekend, the government U-turned on introducing visas for overseas workers, relaxing its rules to allow 5,000 more foreign HGV drivers into the country until Christmas Eve.

Jakub Borzykowski, who was born in Poland but lives in Germany, said lorry driver wages in the UK are much higher than what he earns now. However, moving for only three months is just "not an option" for him.

HGV driver shortages are to blame for the disruption in fuel and good deliveries. Credit: PA

"I don’t want to work on a temporary visa because I think of the future.

"If the government offers a 12-month visa, I could plan for my life, but three months is not an option," he said.

"I'd collect about £12,000 for three months. What next?"

The UK's changing travel rules also concern Mr Borzykowski - having to quarantine on arrival would impact his ability to earn.

Samuel Henri, a lorry driver from France, had similar concerns.

He said: "When you see what happened with Covid, when people were stuck at border crossings with the UK for days on end - I’ve got no interest in that. I’ve got a family and there’s just too many complications."

Mr Henri added that after Brexit, he can no longer gauge the value of the pound.

"I’m fine to go to Switzerland, to Germany, but the UK? No way," he said.

Meanwhile, Rui Rodrigues is content with his delivery route from Spain to Belgium.

“England isn’t easy. It’s complicated... lots of problems. No parking for trucks,” he said.

“Home is Portugal and Spain. There it’s great... not England.”

The government's visa U-turn comes amid scenes of lengthy queues at petrol stations after a shortage of fuel tanker drivers forced some retailers to shut their pumps and ration sales. The shortage of heavy goods vehicle drivers has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, although there have been long-term issues in the UK with labour numbers amid an ageing workforce, low wages and poor truck stop conditions.

As well as lorry drivers, the government's temporary visa scheme will see 5,500 poultry workers allowed to take up employment in the UK until Christmas Eve, in a bid to keep supermarket shelves stocked with turkeys.