Guernsey Press

Move to favour CTA residents with work permits is voted out

DANGEROUS, discriminatory and irresponsible was how deputies described a proposal to treat CTA residents more favourably when providing work permits.

Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 31390098)

The change would potentially have allowed those workers to stay longer for jobs that would usually only be able to attract short-term permit residents.

Home Affairs said the amendment was discriminatory and the benefits of it would likely be limited.

‘There will be an impact on services if we let the short-term employment permits from the CTA stay,’ said committee president Rob Prow.

‘The operability, implementation and understanding of population management law under this amendment would be more complex and confusing, while also clearly amending it to discriminate against certain groups of people.’

Following discussions with the law officers, Home Affairs had been advised that the approach was not a good idea, he said.

Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller proposed the amendment, saying the island must take full advantage of what CTA members can offer.

‘They have the closest cultural, historical and social ties to us which will make any immigration to Guernsey for those residents probably easier and cheaper to assimilate and integrate.’

She said it could not be determined whether the policy would be discriminatory until more work had been done.

Seconding the amendment was Deputy Heidi Soulsby, who denied that it was dangerous in any way.

‘This certainly isn’t – it is not forcing Home Affairs to change a system, it is considering options. We should be considering all options amid the jobs crisis.’

But others doubted it would reap the benefits that the two deputies expected.

‘It is very difficult to lose your staff when a permit expires and the frustration associated with it,’ said Deputy Chris Blin.

‘But I don’t see how this can be deemed as equitable – to have two different groups of people irrespective of nationality – when at the end of the day we know what the Common Travel Area is.’

Deputy Peter Roffey, who yesterday proposed to lower the island’s population objective, highlighted the added pressure on the island’s resources the amendment would create.

‘If we go down the line of anyone who comes in on a short-term permit to stay forever then we are just building the pressures for people growing older in Guernsey,’ he said.

The amendment was lost, with 10 deputies voting in favour and 22 voting against.