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The government’s new post-Brexit immigration policy has been labelled as “detrimental” to the logistics sector by the Freight Transport Association.

From 1 January 2021, freedom of movement for European Union citizens in the UK will end. A points-based immigration system will grant immigration status based on an appropriate job offer, English language skills, and a salary threshold of £25,600.

Following the policy announcement from the Home Office, the FTA called for the government to exclude EU workers from the new requirements for citizenship.

It said that the logistics sector was already suffering from a “severe labour shortage” and the loss of further potential workers could damage the economy.

Sally Gilson, head of skills policy at FTA, said: “As the only business group representing all of the logistics industry, FTA needs the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to reconsider his post-Brexit immigration policy immediately.

“The UK economy simply cannot operate without the logistics workforce. The sector is already facing a severe labour shortage – 64% of transport and storage businesses are now struggling to fill vacancies.

“It is obvious how detrimental this policy will be on the very businesses charged with keeping the UK trading.

“FTA is also appalled that the government has deemed HGV driving – along with many other logistics occupations – to be ‘low skilled’ activities; these are, in fact, very challenging roles. Vocational occupations make a significant contribution to the UK economy.

“While businesses within the logistics sector will do everything possible to keep the UK trading, without adequate levels of staff, operations will become strained and UK plc will inevitably suffer.”