Employers ‘can tap into global pool of workers’
GUERNSEY employers can now tap into a global pool of workers, Home Affairs president Rob Prow has said, as he hits back at Confederation of Guernsey Industry claims that the current population management legislation has put the island in ‘grave danger’.
‘I cannot hide my disappointment with this statement from the CGi,’ said Deputy Prow.
‘It seems to not only fail to understand the changes that we have introduced, but also doesn’t appear to understand what would happen if we abolished the law like they suggest.’
He said that without the legislation, Guernsey firms would operate in a far more restrictive landscape.
‘The only reason we have been able to operate a more flexible system in Guernsey, compared to the UK post-Brexit, is because we have this law in place and can therefore demonstrate to our partners in the Common Travel Area that we can effectively manage who enters and remains in our jurisdiction – unless the CGi is advocating we leave the CTA.’
He said that far from businesses not being able to access the staff they need, the new combined framework introduced a few months ago meant that local businesses recruiting to over 250 roles listed in the employment permit policy now had access to a global pool of workers.
‘Brexit and the pandemic have led to increased workloads for our teams and the introduction of a new policy framework adds to that while it beds in. We are continuing to work through a large number of applications, but the vast majority of these are considered “in-policy” renewals, so applicants can continue to live and work here while the application is processed.’
He said that the new framework would have long-term benefits, with even greater flexibility for businesses recruiting and retaining the staff.
‘The CGi’s statement refers to a “skills drain” but offers no evidence to back that claim up,’ Deputy Prow said.
‘The facts show we have removed medium-term employment permits and converted nearly all of those roles to long-term employment permits, offering businesses the opportunity to retain good quality staff in these roles permanently and make recruitment easier. The facts also show that we’ve opened up roles that gain short-term employment permits to more nationalities than ever before.
'If they are trained and experienced, then the new policy for roles such as cleaning, hospitality etc helps, not hinders.’
He said that without the Population Management Law, Guernsey would need to revert to the much stricter UK points-based system that would make it virtually impossible to recruit to roles that are currently able to secure short-term employment permits.
He added that the CGi had not approached Home Affairs for talks.
‘Rather than issuing emotively-worded media releases, I would suggest it would be more productive if the CGi reached out to better understand the parameters we have to work within, specifically in regard to the CTA, and better understand the new policy framework and its increased flexibility.’