Guernsey Press

New population policy a ‘game-changer’ for firms

GUERNSEY’S new population and immigration policy will be a game-changer for local businesses, Home Affairs president Rob Prow has said.

Home Affairs president Rob Prow. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 31281787)

It is the first comment from the committee on the controversial policy letter, which was published last week during the period of national mourning for Queen Elizabeth II.

As that finished yesterday, an official statement from the committee was published.

The proposals, which include bringing in 300 people a year to stabilise Guernsey’s shrinking workforce, have proved controversial. The document also looked at widening the recruitment pool so that people can be recruited from across the world.

‘Population and immigration policy is a complex but crucially important area of work,’ Deputy Prow said in the statement.

‘Everything the committee is actioning – where it is a policy already within our mandate to implement or asking the States to agree – is designed to support the whole community’s desire for Guernsey to be a prosperous and safe place to live and work for many years to come.

‘We firmly believe that our flagship proposal to amend population and immigration policy, to open up off-island recruitment worldwide for roles that are currently restricted to a more limited cohort of nationals, will be a game-changer for local businesses competing in a global market for staff to meet our economic needs.’

The committee has been keen to focus on the new worldwide recruitment opportunities.

It will open up recruitment worldwide for job types that are currently restricted to British or Irish nationals, or those from the European Union.

It will work by tying the immigration work permit policy to the employment permit policy for third country nationals.

In doing so, local businesses employing to more than 250 roles listed in the EPP would have access to a global pool of workers from which to recruit.

The move will see five-year licences scrapped in favour of one-year short-term licences and eight-year long-term licences. Short-term licences can be renewed for up to three years.

‘The UK’s post-Brexit Skilled Worker Visa: Eligible Occupations list does not allow foreign nationals to live and work in the UK on the basis of certain roles that are listed in Guernsey’s Employment Permit Policy,’ a statement from the committee stated.

‘Deviating from the list of UK job types was successfully negotiated following Brexit as the island has different economic and recruitment needs to the UK, and represents one of the principal benefits of the population management regime.’

However to allow this, five-year licences had to be scrapped.

Deputy Prow said he was grateful to all the other States committees who have contributed to the review, both the members who sat on the steering group and committees that provided feedback.

He also thanked the business community.