Once again, the UK government has decided to postpone full customs checks on imports from the EU and beyond. Postponed twice by six months, the measure was supposed to enter into force when the United Kingdom left the Union’s single market on January 1, 2021. But the country facing supply difficulties was forced to revise its timetable .
“We want businesses to focus on their post-pandemic recovery rather than having to deal with new demands at the border, which is why we have established a new pragmatic timetable for the introduction of full border controls. “, Explained Tuesday the Minister responsible for Brexit, David Frost, in a press release. “Companies will now have more time to prepare for these controls, which will be implemented gradually throughout 2022,” he added.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused supply problems in the UK, which are particularly felt in the agri-food sector, where new rules on importing animal products were due to be introduced from next month. To give businesses more time to adapt, these rules will be postponed to January 1.
The government has further decided that while customs declarations and controls will be introduced on January 1, 2022 as planned, safety and security declarations, such as phytosanitary certificates, will not be required before January 1, 2022. July 2022. In the United Kingdom, supply problems are amplified by labor shortages, particularly in road transport. Many of these workers, especially those from Eastern Europe, returned to their country with the pandemic and Brexit, which makes it difficult to obtain new residence permits.
Government called on to relax immigration rules
For Sean McGuire, European director of the CBI employers’ organization, the deadline will “help relieve pressure on supply chains ahead of the traditionally busy Christmas season for retailers.” “But the impact will be ephemeral unless this additional time allows progress to be made on the difficulties that companies are facing”, warns the CBI, which calls for the conclusion of a “tailor-made veterinary agreement, which could avoid the majority of controls and reflect the unique nature of UK-EU trade ”.
The employers’ organization also called on the government to relax immigration rules. The lack of truck drivers – estimated at around 100,000 – is indeed fueling the problems of shortages that affect supermarkets but also chains like McDonalds, Ikea, and even pubs, putting the government under pressure three months before Christmas. The government announced on Friday that the training of heavy truck drivers would be accelerated in an attempt to overcome the shortage affecting their profession. Other sectors of the economy are affected, such as hotels and restaurants and construction, which are struggling to recruit.
The Mayor of London, Labor Sadiq Khan, on Tuesday called on the Conservative government to “change its immigration policy so that it meets our economic needs and helps our businesses”. He calls for the introduction of special visas intended to attract international workers for certain key occupations. Between a labor shortage and a resumption of activity with the end of restrictions linked to the coronavirus pandemic, job offers have reached records. The National Bureau of Statistics (ONS) said Tuesday that “preliminary figures for August show that there were more than 1.1 million job vacancies in August, a historic first”.