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Unlocking driver mobility IRU outlines how at Vienna Migration Conference
Europe | Vienna

Unlocking driver mobility: IRU outlines how at Vienna Migration Conference

16 Oct 2023 · People

The road transport industry is facing a chronic shortage of drivers. It’s forecast to get much worse without significant action. Urgent measures are required, including improving the labour mobility of qualified drivers.

Solutions to tackle the chronic shortage of bus and truck drivers include attracting more young people and women to the profession by improving its accessibility and attractiveness. 

At the Vienna Migration Conference, Europe's leading forum on migration, IRU highlighted another complementary solution: facilitating the access of qualified third-country drivers from countries with a surplus of professional drivers to help cover the gap.

IRU Director of Certification and Standards Patrick Philipp said, “The global chronic shortage of professional bus, coach and truck drivers is accelerating, threatening mobility networks and supply chains.

“In addition to attracting more young people and women to the profession, we need a framework to facilitate the access of qualified third-country drivers, from countries with an excess of workers, into the profession in countries facing a shortage. Only 10% of truck drivers in the EU are non-EU nationals. For bus and coach drivers, it’s 5%.”

“We need to better harmonise professional skills to guarantee that any driver, from any country, can demonstrate high safety and efficiency standards in transport operations,” he added.

IRU is leading several initiatives to ease third-country drivers' access to the profession at the regional and global level.

Earlier this year, IRU and the International Transport Workers’ Federation launched a three-point plan to better balance national labour pools between those with a surplus and those with a deficit of driver talent. The plan outlines action for the UN, national governments and the industry.

Another initiative seeking to better harmonise professional driver skills is being led by the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP).

With the support of IRU, CLDP is working on strengthening practical training capacity in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to get managers and drivers to match the requirements of companies in Europe.

IRU will further unpack measures and efforts to facilitate the access of third-country drivers at the European Migration Network Spanish Presidency Conference, titled “Shaping the future of EU legal migration: where are we and where do we want to go?”, in Madrid on 16-17 November.

2 Oct 2023
Key figures, Knowledge, Passenger transport