Lithuanian hauliers angry as government rejects plea for more lorry driver visas
Lithuania’s Haulage Association, Linava, has expressed frustration over the Lithuanian Government’s decision not to allow an additional 15,000 visas for lorry drivers from outside the European Union.
Hauliers from Lithuania say that the visas are required due to the shortage of drivers currently available in the country. The 11,600 visas allocated to lorry drivers has already been exhausted this year.
Linava argues that the shortage means hauliers will be unable to fulfill orders for customers and meet their financial obligations with banks. According to Lithuanian news website delfi.lt, companies are estimating losses of tens of millions of euros, which are only increasing every day.
Hauliers will now have to pay for permits for third-country nationals to come to work in Lithuania, which Linava estimates will cost businesses almost 2 million euros.
Zenonas Buivydas , Secretary General of Linava, is quoted as saying that more companies are calling back trucks from abroad and are no longer hauling as much freight due to a lack of drivers.
“In Lithuania, quotas should not be applied at all, because there is a constant shortage of professional and internationally qualified truck drivers. It is therefore absurd to impose quotas on workers in this missing profession, who are in short supply throughout Europe. For example, even the United Kingdom declares that they also have a critical shortage of long-distance drivers, ” says Z. Buivydas.