Haulier Danny W Poole & Sons has launched legal action against the government’s ‘idiotic’ and ‘not fit for purpose’ immigration rules, after being advised by the Home Office to move to Poland to avoid border delays.
The Hanley-based haulage firm hires EU drivers to transport goods between Europe and the UK.
However the company’s EU drivers have been facing serious delays at the UK border – despite driving UK-registered trucks and holding British National Insurance numbers and paying tax in the UK.
The company, which says it has lost thousands of pounds due to the delays, has now hired Lexadeen Solicitors to fight its case.
Director Danny Poole told local news channel Stoke-on-Trent Live: “We are a family-run business and have been employing a large number of drivers from the European Union for the last few decades due to a shortage of long-haul, international-skilled British HGV drivers. Our drivers travel between Europe and the UK. They don’t live in the UK, yet they all pay tax in the UK.
“But because they do not live here they cannot apply for ‘settled status’ or frontline workers visas.
They are being held up at the border and refused entry into the UK, even though they are driving UK-registered trucks and are in receipt of British national insurance numbers.
“They are held up for days sometimes, ruining food and hitting the supermarket supply chain, not to mention costing the business thousands of pounds in lost revenue and insurance claims.
“We have been proactive in speaking to the Home Office and other government departments about the issues. Yet we were told that the best and quickest way of fixing the issue is for the company to move to Poland, have Polish-registered trucks, and pay tax in Poland instead of in the UK.
“How idiotic is this? The government’s immigration policies are clearly not fit for purpose. We are a proud British company which pays tax in the UK and for the government to advise us to move to another country because they can’t get a grip of the immigration rules is beyond belief.”
The company is now seeking the support of Stoke-on-Trent’s three Tory MPs.
Mehfooz Khan, lawyer at Lexadeen Solicitors, said: “We are seeing a lot of decisions now, particularly relating to European-based applications, that simply don’t make sense and are only occurring because the government does not have a clear policy on those who have a right to work in the UK, but don’t have settled status following the Brexit transition period.”
Author: Carol Millett