Scottish ministers are demanding urgent action from the UK on immigration, in a bid to address some of the problems being caused by labour shortages.
Scottish External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson has written to Home Secretary Priti Patel calling for an “immediate discussion”.
It comes as drivers across the UK have faced lengthy queues at petrol stations, after a shortage of HGV drivers forced some fuel retailers to shut their pumps and ration sales.
That comes on the back of growing concern about the impact the lack of HGV drivers is having on supermarket supplies, with fears Christmas shopping could be hindered without action.
Worker shortages have been linked to both the coronavirus crisis and a lack of European labour after Brexit.
And Mr Robertson told the Home Secretary that the UK Government “needs to urgently address the immigration challenges”.
He said: “The current immigration system is not meeting the needs of Scotland. At the moment it is not meeting the needs of sectors across the UK.”
Adding that “this position is not sustainable”, he urged the Home Secretary to work with the Scottish Government to “urgently develop and implement change”.
Mr Robertson wants Westminster to immediately introduce a 24-month temporary workers visa.
In addition to this he said the shortage occupation list used for immigration must be reviewed – arguing that Scottish ministers should be given a formal role in determining what categories of workers are on this.
He also wants changes made to the immigration fee structure, claiming the costs involved in this were a barrier for both workers and employers.
Mr Robertson said: “Even workers in shortage occupations are expected to pay £928 (and up to £1,220 otherwise) in application fees.
“Thus, I am clear that the UK Government must reduce excessive costs of the immigration system in order to meet the needs of workers and employers amidst this labour crisis.”
The UK Government has announced that 5,000 HGV drivers and 5,500 poultry workers will be added to the existing visa scheme until Christmas 2021 to help the food and fuel industries affected by driver shortages.
Recruitment for the additional short-term HGV drivers and poultry workers will start next month and the visas will be valid until December 24.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Defence examiners will be used to help increase immediate HGV testing capacity by thousands over the next 12 weeks, and nearly one million letters will be sent to all drivers who currently hold an HGV driving licence, encouraging them back into the industry.
The UK Department for Education is investing up to £10 million to create new “skills bootcamps” to train up to 3,000 more people to become HGV drivers and an additional 1,000 people are expected to be trained through courses accessed locally and funded by the Government’s adult education budget.
UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “This package of measures builds on the important work we have already done to ease this global crisis in the UK, and this Government continues to do everything we can to help the haulage and food industries contend with the HGV driver shortage.
“We are acting now but the industries must also play their part with working conditions continuing to improve and the deserved salary increases continuing to be maintained in order for companies to retain new drivers.
“After a very difficult 18 months, I know how important this Christmas is for all of us and that’s why we’re taking these steps at the earliest opportunity to ensure preparations remain on track.”