There has been a “huge” increase in the number of enquiries from haulage and warehousing firms desperately trying to employ foreign workers amid a host of skills shortages in the UK, according to a law firm.

In the aftermath of Brexit, companies began applying for special licences in order to take on foreign nationals, but legal experts at Aaron & Partners said enquiries for these sponsor licences are now rocketing.

The law firm said that as well as the well-publicised need for HGV drivers, haulage firms were urgently seeking out logistics managers, mechanics and warehouse managers as well.

Adam Haines, immigration and employment law partner at Aaron & Partners, said: “There’s a growing skills shortage in the UK and with historically low levels of unemployment, many companies are turning to other countries to address these issues.

“We have been working with companies, operating in the UK and entering the UK market, to assist and advise them on the processes and educate staff on the compliance obligations”.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in demand from companies that need help to fill vacancies,” Haines added. “The shortages are particularly acute in the warehousing and logistics sector, where we’re working hard to help companies bring in skilled drivers, operators and more.”

Government figures showed that driver vacancies in the haulage industry fell 15.3% between October and December 2022, easing the crisis that had engulfed the sector following the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Transport minister Richard Holden MP said the skills shortage now sat at 47,000 and that the HGV skills bootcamps were partly responsible for the reduction.

Haines said he hoped that pending trade agreements, particularly the Australian trade agreement, would incorporate a mobility deal that simplified the process of hiring expertise from Australia.He added: “Brexit may have been voted for over six years ago, but much of its impact is really being felt now due to the restraints it placed on immigration, which has contributed to the current skills shortage here.

“This is an ongoing issue that isn’t going away – and we think it will run throughout 2023 and beyond.”