Monday 27 February 2017

IoD: Ministers' plans will put the Island at risk

Wednesday 11 January 2017

IoD: Ministers' plans will put the Island at risk

The battle lines are being drawn for the first big political fight of 2017, with business leaders slamming Ministerial plans to tighten some immigration controls.

The IoD have described the proposals as sending out the "worst message at the worst time," and of "...putting our island at risk economically and socially and losing the elements of island life that make Jersey the place we love working and living in.”

Yesterday, the Population Office announced moves to tighten existing controls on how many employees larger businesses are allowed to bring in - with permissions focussed on "...delivering the greatest social and economic value."

They say they are going to focus on businesses employing 30 staff or more, and make comparisons to other companies in the same sector: those who employ more “registered” workers than other businesses in the same sector will find it more difficult to get what they want.

These companies will be put into what the Population Office is terming a “step down” programme to reduce the number of registered staff they employ; or they could be placed into a work permit-type scheme requiring them to demonstrate the value of each new registered worker before they are permitted to recruit them.  

But in response, Chris Clark, Chair, IoD Jersey, said:

“These measures announced by Ministers send out the worst message at the worst of times for local businesses and demonstrate a distinct lack of joined-up thinking. At a time when businesses in Jersey are working through a period of productivity and when the government has invested heavily in infrastructure to ensure Jersey’s future success, including the Esplanade quarter, these measures appear confusing, ill-thought through and likely to have a direct, detrimental impact on Jersey’s potential to prosper, across all industry sectors.  Particularly with populist politics sweeping across the Western world and in light of Brexit, there is a real need to champion stability in policy. These measures fly in the face of that and suggest to any aspirational business that Jersey is not open for business.

“At our Debate three years ago which examined population, the clear message was that Jersey needs to relax immigration policy and at the same time address the skills shortage, look at our education system and encourage businesses to focus on training. If we don’t do all of this in a coherent way, we are in real danger of putting our island at risk economically and socially and losing the elements of island life that make Jersey the place we love working and living in.”

The States say the tightening of existing controls..."...is designed to ensure that migration is more focussed on delivering the greatest social and economic value, while also creating a fairer allocation of permissions across businesses," and "... The Council of Ministers wants to see more productive businesses making more profits and paying higher wages, with migration targeted toward delivering the greatest benefit for islanders."

An analysis of the permissions granted / refused in 2015 shows that out of 1,653 applications to employ staff without local qualifications, 606 were turned down - but just 27 of those refusals were in the financial services or legal sectors, and more than half, 316, were in construction and hospitality. 

The Finance and Legal sectors made 262 applications, with just over 10% being turned down - conversely, the hospitality sector made 352 applications, and 53% were refused.

 

Comments

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Posted by Simon Dodkins on
I think the IOD miss the point that these policies are designed to tackle a long held concern about the levels of uncontrolled inward migration and the rising population levels of the island. It will make the process of finding, hiring and retaining good staff more difficult (which I see as no bad thing).

Companies will be obliged to give preference to take on those already resident in Jersey. Indeed there may be a rise in wages for residentially qualified persons with 5 years residency as they become more in demand, none of which I see as a bad thing.

Seems that the only issue the IOD have is that they no longer have an unlimited pool of external people to draw on, and in fact have to employ locally. The IOD need to realise that they have had it good for a very long time, with the consequences that we have had unlimited inward migration with a growing population and all of the related strain on the local infrastructure.

The local companies represented by the IOD may actually benefit from more local people earning a better wage.
Posted by david forde on
With the stark lessons of uncontrolled immigration staring you in the face. You have to wonder just how stupid do the IOD get? All the IOD are concerned with is Cheap labour.! With more than just substantive evidence tell you all that causes is trouble, I fail to understand them.
Posted by John Henwood on
I wondered how long it would be before the insults started. If David Forde and others put a little more thought into the whole population/economy equation they'd realize you can't have economic growth - without which we can't continue to have all the public services we currently enjoy - without some population growth. It's not about cheap labour, it's about the skill base. Our government predictably reacts as governments tend to when an election is looming, they introduce negative populist policies instead of positively addressing long term strategic issues. If business can't recruit the skills it needs locally it is because the education system is failing to provide those skills in adequate numbers. Deal with that problem and the need to import skills will reduce. Apparently that simple, but screamingly obvious fact continues to escape the attention of the Council of Ministers. What we don't need right now is name calling and mud slinging; what we do need is the intelligent debate on the issue that has not so far occurred.
Posted by Havelock Jones on
So those 'skills' include delivery drivers in white vans, house cleaners, swimming pool cleaners, gardeners etc? I don't care the place is ruined, I'm off and taking our tax with us.
Posted by nigel pearce on
John Henwood looks only at the short term.
If these companies can't import workers, they will have to train up from the local workforce.
We can no longer keep increasing our population until there is no more room. If we have to cut back on public services, so be it. The quality of life is more important and is more than how much we earn or how much tax locals and local companies pay into the states' coffers.
Jersey's population needs to decrease for the good health and wellbeing of those already here.
Posted by John Henwood on
Oh dear. Havelock, you don't seem to understand: drivers, cleaners, gardners are not granted licences in any event. However, nothing in the new proposal will stop those people coming to Jersey. In fact while the UK is still in the EU there's nothing to be done about it. The proposal is all about rationing skilled jobs and until those skills are locally grown, starting with the education system, the problem will continue.
Posted by Simon Dodkins on
Mr. Henwood - to pick you up on your point - what we have at present is substantial population growth and very little economic growth.
Posted by Louise Bree on
We are continually told that the Island will not survive without bringing in more and more people to work in the island. 11,700 people have arrived in the past 10 years whilst Guernsey's population has remained static. Why then have Guernsey managed to balance their books (and even have enough spare to give their pensioners a Christmas bonus) and we are heading deaper and deaper into the abyss. Could I suggest the States stop spending £14,000 on flights to far flung places and instead take some £100 flights to Guernsey to find out exactly how they have done it. Guernsey still remains beautiful and unspoilt whilst our current government are intent on destroying everything that is special about Jersey due to uncontrolled immigration.

In 2015 along, 1,100 registered employees came to work in Jersey. That is 1,100 extra persons entitled to buy or rent property in the island. The way that locals see it is that the COM are allowing all of these higher earners in so that they can buy up all the houses whilst they expect our children and their families to live in tiny Dandara flats or take a part-share in a house.

If things continue there will come a time when we cannot even attract doctors or teachers to our Island due to extortionate housing prices. It must stop now! We do not want to live in the Hong Kong of the Channel Islands. We want our island back.
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