UK tanker driver visa scheme – who can apply?
According to the UK's new visa scheme, up to 300 tanker drivers can work in the country until the end of March - provided they meet all the eligibility requirements and arrive by October 15th. Those intending to use the scheme will need an EU, EEA or Swiss licence to drive HGV fuel tankers, a job offer and an endorsement letter from their future employer.
The “Concession for temporary leave to allow employment as HGV fuel drivers” visa applies to non-visa nationals (foreigners who don’t have a working or Standard Visitor Visa before arriving in the UK).
Drivers that come to the UK through the scheme will need to present their documents to immigration officials at the UK border on arrival.
However, both the drivers and their future employers have a lot to do before that point. A successful job interview must be completed, a job offer should be sent by the employer and accepted by the driver, while the employer also has to contact the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to get an endorsement letter.
- a valid passport,
- an EU, EEA or Swiss licence to drive HGV fuel tankers (HGV category C or C+E plus current accreditation for the transport of fuel further to the international convention about dangerous goods transport)
- an HGV fuel driver’s endorsement letter by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
- the person should arrive in the UK to undertake employment, as an HGV fuel tanker driver between 1 October 2021 and 15 October 2021.
- proof of funds (eg. a bank statement)
The endorsement letter is used as proof of the driver’s future employment.
To get such a letter, the driver should apply for a job and receive a job offer from a company before travelling to the UK. The employer has to get in touch with the BEIS and ask for an endorsement letter for the driver. BEIS will carry out checks with the driver’s employer and will require information about the driver.
Information the employer needs to provide about the driver before BEIS provides an endorsement letter is as follows:
- the driver’s intended employment,
- driver’s qualifications,
- driver’s date of birth
- date and port of arrival.
What the officer at the border will consider
If the driver receives the endorsement letter, they can travel to the UK. At the border, they must not use an e-gate, instead, they have to go to a Border Force officer.
Besides checking the required documents, the officer at the border will consider the following questions before issuing or declining the visa:
- the driver is genuinely seeking entry to undertake employment as an HGV fuel tanker driver,
- the driver will be able to maintain and accommodate themself without recourse to public funds (this proof can be a bank statement or a job offer stating the salary),
- whether the driver intends to leave the UK at the end of their period of permission.
If the Border Force officer is satisfied with the documents and evidence, and considers the driver eligible for the concession, they will be granted permission to enter and to work in the UK as a fuel tanker driver for the specified employer until 31 March 2022.
The officer can find the presented proof unsatisfactory and therefore refuse to grant the concession. The driver doesn’t have the right to appeal the decision.
Drivers must arrive in the UK between the 1st and 15th October.
Other factors to be considered by the driver before applying for the visa
Dependents will not be permitted unless they otherwise meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules.
If the driver is granted permission to enter and work in the UK, that permission will only permit them to work as a fuel tanker driver for a specified employer. They will not be permitted to do any other work.
How can a driver take advantage of the concession?
The first step for a foreign driver wishing to use the scheme is to look for a job urgently.
Common places to look for a driver job in the UK are job portals like Indeed, Reed, CV-Library or Total Jobs.
During the application process, the government’s aforementioned visa scheme is worth mentioning. Its official title is: “Concession for temporary leave to allow employment as HGV fuel drivers”.
Tell the employer that you would be entitled to this scheme and provide the link to the government’s website.
If you are offered a job, ask the employer to get in touch with BEIS as soon as possible, and start looking for options on when and how to travel to the UK, as the time and place of your arrival is needed for the endorsement letter.
At the border, you might need to prove that you have enough funds to live in the UK (so that you will be able to pay for your rent and other costs of living). The most common proof of funds is a statement from your current bank. The UK government hasn’t specified how much money is accepted as “enough”.
Time is tight – the concession is open to drivers who enter the country by next Friday.