UK's Shapps explores temporary visas for EU workers to ease airport staffing crisis

British Transport Minister Grant Shapps is exploring issuing temporary visas to workers from the European Union to ease a staffing crisis at airports, The Telegraph reported on Saturday.

Plans are being discussed to issue baggage handlers and check-in staff with temporary visas similar to those issued to fruit pickers, musicians and religious figures, the report said

Airports across Europe have struggled in the past week to cope with a rebound in demand, with British airports in particular facing chaos as a school half-term holiday coincided with the Platinum Jubilee holiday weekend.

Shapps called an emergency meeting with senior aviation executives at the beginning of the month but rejected pleas for aviation workers to be added to the shortage occupation list, which would have made it easier to recruit staff from abroad, The Telegraph reported.

However, Whitehall officials have since been discussing potential alternatives with industry representatives, according to the report.

A leading option would issue EU workers with temporary visas to work in the aviation industry for up to six months, and industry leaders hope that some could be transferred to a permanent visa at a later date, the report said.

Britain left the European Union in January 2020.

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