Guernsey Press

‘I’ve lived here since 1972 but feel like a second class citizen’

A DUTCH NATIONAL who has lived in Guernsey for more than 50 years has said he wanted to speak out for islanders being made to feel like ‘second class citizens’.

Dutch national Teun Jager has shared his negative experiences with identification and proof of citizenship while being a European living in Guernsey, particularly since Brexit. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 32561118)

Teun Jager, 73, has shared his own troubles with identification and proof of citizenship whilst being a European living in Guernsey, particularly since Brexit.

Mr Jager had been working for Nato when he saw an advertisement for six months' work in Guernsey.

He moved to the island in 1972 and has lived here ever since.

‘In the beginning I was a real outsider but a lot has changed in Guernsey, now people are feeling like second class citizens again,’ he said.

‘I saw the article in the Guernsey Press [of islanders held up on their return from a day trip to France by paperwork issues]. Things just don’t feel right and people don’t want to come forward, maybe because they are scared of the outcome, but they are very hard-working people.

‘In the last five years there are much fewer people coming to work here now because they’ve made it so complicated.’

Mr Jager has a Dutch passport, and experienced problems trying to prove his Guernsey citizenship when renewing it. He said that he knew many others who had the same problems.

‘I sent the form to the Hague, and they said that I had illegal papers, because the Guernsey customs form had the old phone number on, so the line was dead and they thought it was made up,’ he said.

‘I contacted them to say I needed a new piece of paper to show it was legal so they could be contacted. They sent me a new paper but it wasn’t on the original Guernsey paper and so it still wasn’t technically legal, but luckily it was sorted.’

He identified the problems becoming worse from 2015, he said, when he said between 3,500 and 4,000 people were affected when he recalled new regulations were implemented for people coming over to work.

‘That’s where Guernsey made a mistake, because these clever, hard-working people could get a better offer elsewhere in Great Britain,’ he said.

‘I was on the West Show committee for about 12 years, I won prizes for best herd in the island when I was a farmer and I grew flowers for the Queen. I just really enjoy the Guernsey way of living, and that is why if they’re doing this, so many people who could also enjoy Guernsey life will choose somewhere else.’

During summer, Mr Jager said he was heavily questioned on arrival from a trip from France about how long he would be staying the island, despite living here for 50 years.

He said that he would prefer to have proof of citizenship in his passport for ease and also to reduce the risk of data protection issues.