Monday mornings are usually a bit hairy with fresh horses, and today was no different. First lot pulled out in the dark and the last lot returned to their boxes just after 1pm. It never fails to amaze me how everyone works so efficiently when we are short staffed and the morning flew by. Rowan is away for the week in Dubai but Janos returned from his native Hungary last weekend after a week off.
Three of our five Indian lads arrived at Sun Hill yesterday and the others are due to arrive this weekend. All have had their work permits and visas approved by the Home Office (they have all been working in racing yards in Newmarket for some years) but until we are in possesion of the actual visas, we cannot allow them to start work on the yard. We might have the help we need but we cannot make good use of them, very frustrating but the rules are the rules. One visa has arrived for a young man arriving this week and it is hoped we will receive the others tomorrow.
In all we have six extra staff starting work and this will put us back where we need to be, but racing as a whole has a major staffing crisis, the likes of which has never been experienced before. The BHA have increased the amount spent on staff recruitment from 41k to a whopping ONE MILLION POUNDS which, in itself tells you the story. Racing has experienced a "perfect storm" which has been brewing for years. I am just hugely grateful that we retained our tier two sponsors licence allowing us to employ staff from outside the EU. The story of how so many trainers in the UK have been stripped of their licenses (through no fault of their own) in many cases losing 50% of their workforce over night, is simply incredible and very unfair, but it seems heads will roll and a few more bunk beds will be needed in prisons across the country, thank goodness not for the trainers though.