Teignbridge Council dilemma over Romanian taxi drivers
A Devon council is planning to change its policy on criminal record and health checks for taxi drivers after a local firm said it wants to employ Romanian workers.
Teignbridge District Council has received driver applications from Romanian nationals who have been brought over to work in the district by a local company.
Councillors on the authority's regulatory and appeals committee have been told that as a result of the applications, in October last year, it now needs to amend its policy to deal with criminal records and medical examinations for foreign nationals.
UK citizens who want to become a taxi driver must be checked through the Criminal Records Bureau and also have their health and fitness confirmed with a medical certificate from a doctor who has full access to the applicant's medical records.
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Councillors are being advised that similar systems may not exist in other countries and the council has spent some time in contact with the Romanian Embassy to clarify matters and taken advice from the Home Office and Department for Transport.
Council officers have made recommendations to change the licensing system for taxi drivers so that checks on the background and health of applicants from other countries can be made.
Councillor Alan Connett, chairman of Teignbridge council's scrutiny committee, said he was surprised to learn a local taxi firm needed to bring in drivers from abroad.
"In the current climate, many people might be surprised, he added.
"You would have thought this is the type of work that could be recruited to locally, especially as knowledge of the area can be important and valued by customers."
The regulatory and appeals committee meets on Thursday to consider the proposals.