Coronavirus: EU channels assistance to Namibia

More and more workers from Eastern Europe have been returning to their home countries as both the COVID restrictions and Brexit put a strain on the British labour market. The shortage has pushed the UK government to find alternatives as well as trying to convince workers not to return home. Attracting new workers from abroad seems to be the government’s new priority, as well as imposing fewer work restrictions to truck drivers who want to get employed in the UK, writes Cristian Gherasim in Bucharest.

Truck drivers are now in demand as around 10,000 of them, many from Eastern Europe, lost their jobs following Brexit and the Covid pandemic. But it’s not only truck drivers who are needed, the hospitality industry is also in a tight corner as it also relies on workforce coming especially from Eastern Europe and the new EU member states.

Hotels and restaurants are now faced with the possibility, that once the COVID restrictions are fully lifted there would be no staff left to tend to their customers.

According to several logistics companies in the UK, almost 30% of them are looking for truck drivers, a field of work that has attracted many Romanians over past years, but which now is struggling to meet its workforce needs.

Many of those leaving UK said that less than favorable working conditions weigh heavily in their decision to return home. Some even mentioned cumbersome travel conditions, including extensive wait times in the airports due to Brexit.

Those who do not wish to return to their home countries say that despite harsher working conditions, their still prefer UK over their home countries.

Truck drivers are not the only ones whose lives have been affected by the pandemic and Brexit. The UK’s decision to leave the European Union also affected students, and some chose to return to their country with the onset of the pandemic. Due to the government’s decision not to allow those who leave for a period of more than six months to keep their residency status, some students refrain from returning to their home country.

For students, the pandemic meant moving courses online. Many have chosen to continue their studies at home.

Several among UK entrepreneurs are calling on the government to implement a work visa program for workers coming from various European counties. According to a study conducted earlier this year by the Center for Excellence in Economic Statistics of the Office for National Statistics, the British national institute of statistics, 1.3 million foreign workers have left the country since the beginning of the pandemic. The city of London alone has lost 8% of its population, approximately 700,000 workers coming from EU member states.

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