Population policy amendments ‘potentially dangerous’ says Home
Home Affairs has urged States members to reject three ‘potentially dangerous amendments’ to the population and immigration policy review.
Debate on the committee’s policy review seems likely to dominate the October States meeting, which begins today at the Royal Court.
Members will be asked to agree to assume that Guernsey’s population is going to increase by 300 every year for the next 30 years, though this is not being set as a target.
Home Affairs also wants to open up recruitment to candidates from anywhere in the world, for certain types of job, and to eliminate the medium term employment permit.
However, six amendments had been placed up until lunchtime on Monday and Home Affairs has signalled its intent to oppose three of them – amendments three, four and five.
Amendment five proposes reducing the assumed annual increase in population to 200.
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Deputy Peter Roffey has proposed this, arguing the original proposition would lead to a very significant increase in Guernsey’s population.
Home Affairs claims this assessment does not stand up to the research and data provided through the review.
The fourth amendment, placed by Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller, would instruct Home Affairs to look into adding further job roles to the list of those that are eligible for long-term employment permits.
‘The committee believes the work proposed through amendment four has already been conducted in the development of the policy framework set out in the policy letter, with the best possible solution that does not cross the clear red line already proposed,' he said.
'In this sense, the amendment directs work to be repeated.’
The ‘red line’ refers to Guernsey’s alignment with the UK on settlement rights. If crossed, Home Affairs warns Guernsey could end up being rejected from the CTA, leading to a need for islanders to show passports when travelling to and from the UK and other Crown Dependencies.
‘Our committee will oppose amendments three and four in the strongest terms, as they both seek to direct work that could place the population management regime, or indeed the island as a whole through its membership of the CTA, at risk,’ Deputy Prow said.
Amendment three, if approved, would send Home Affairs away to investigate how citizens within the Common Travel Area might be put on a pathway to long-term employment.
This would make the Population Management Law discriminatory and put its objective in conflict with the new direction to simplify the employment permit policy process, Home Affairs said, as well as being unnecessary.
‘It is important to emphasise that, under the new policy framework in the policy letter, the vast majority of positions that qualify for an medium-term employment permit will not be lost, but will instead be converted to long-term employment permits.’
In order to take effect, amendments three or four would have to be approved, causing Home Affairs to repeat its work, and the committee would then need to come to a different conclusion and successfully push through its new proposals at a future States meeting.
However, the president emphasised the risk he felt the amendments posed.
‘They are potentially dangerous amendments,’ he said.