The current industry skills shortage may not be resolved by proposals to reduce the salary threshold for immigration after Brexit – because HGV drivers are generally paid more than £30,000, according to Talent in Logistics.

Skilled migrants from outside the EU currently need to have a job offer with a minimum salary of £30,000, but in a report by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), it said this should fall to £25,600 for all workers to help recruit staff.

Ruth Edwards, business development director at Talent in Logistics, said it had “significant concerns” Brexit would negatively impact migrant labour and said: “Many roles in logistics – perhaps as many as four out of five - pay less than £30,000 per year.

“If reducing the salary threshold will give logistics operations greater access to the right resource, then we fully support this and feel that both our sector and the UK economy will benefit.

“However, when considering lorry drivers specifically, reducing the salary threshold may be less beneficial for the UK.

“Lorry drivers generally command a higher salary than most low-mid level logistics roles, so a lower salary for those looking to work in the UK will not be such an attractive option.”

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Edwards added: “The UK would have to compete with many other countries that are also dealing with logistics skills shortages but may be able to offer a more competitive salary to drivers.”

The FTA has also criticised the MAC’s proposal to retain the Level 3 qualification requirement, as driving HGVs requires a Level 2 qualification.

Edwards said retaining the Level 3 requirement would be “a big issue” and she said: “Given the existing skills shortage in this area, it would make what is already a serious problem, even worse.”

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) said that if the government adopted the MAC’s recommendations, the first people it would affect would be EU citizens.

Robert Keen (pictured), BIFA director general, said: “With the UK leaving the EU tomorrow, and the so-called transition period - where we align with EU rules while a trade deal is negotiated - ending in December 2020, they will instead face the same hurdles as immigrants coming from outside the EU to the UK.”

Keen added: “I’m still not sure that the government realises that there is a big labour shortage facing the warehousing and logistics industry; a sector that depends on migrant labour – particularly at peak times, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas.”