Ministers are sticking with their expired Population Policy for now – even though it ran out last year, and even though its target of capping immigration growth by 325 people per year has been missed every year since it started.
Islanders are going to be asked to help decide a new population policy over the next few months as part of a long-term planning exercise, and ministers say that the existing system – which has been running since 2009 – will remain in place until the new one is approved.
Since 2009, immigration has added an average of 600 people to the population each year – despite the “planning assumption” of the policy being for a total of 325.
Ministers have signalled their intention to come up with a 20-year plan for Jersey, consultation on the early stages of which will begin in the next few months.
They say that population policy will be a central part of that new plan, which is a key focus now that the Strategic Plan, Medium Term Financial Plan and 2016 Budget have all been approved.
Assistant Chief Minister Paul Routier, who has responsibility for population policy, said that the new 20-year plan would be a major piece of work.
He said: “This Council of Ministers has been clear that we need to deliver economic growth to ensure that we can maintain our quality of life as our society ages.
“This means investing in health and education, sustainable public finances, sufficient and better housing, and good quality infrastructure and public services.
“We now intend to involve islanders in developing a plan for Jersey for the next 20 years. This will begin in the next few months.
“Population policy should be an integral part of this Long Term Plan. In the meantime, the principles of the Interim Population Policy, as embedded in the Strategic Plan and Medium Term Financial Plan, remain appropriate, and will be applied using the Control of Housing and Work Law until the Long Term Plan is agreed.
“This will provide stability and continuity in this important area while we make important decisions for our long-term future.”