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“Back population policy to help get economy on track” - Gorst

“Back population policy to help get economy on track” - Gorst

Thursday 01 May 2014

“Back population policy to help get economy on track” - Gorst

Jersey needs to send out the message that it is “open for business” to help the economic recovery, Chief Minister Ian Gorst told the States at the beginning of a major debate on population.

As the debate on his proposal to stick with a 325 target for annual total immigration for two years opened yesterday afternoon, Senator Gorst urged Members to stick with his “middle ground” proposal.

In his opening speech he said that the subject was not a simple one, because it touched on almost every aspect of Island life – but he said that by adopting the interim proposal, they could give the next Council of Ministers that takes office after the October elections the chance to develop a long-term policy.

He said: “Let’s be clear, our Island needs economic recovery. It needs unemployed people getting back to into work, it needs earnings that are rising, and it needs job security, and we should not – and this Council of Ministers will not – endanger those objectives.

“We have to be loud and clear that Jersey is open for business and I would argue that whatever others might say in this Assembly we are, and this policy will allow us to continue to be so.”

There are two proposed amendments to the proposals – Deputy Geoff Southern wants to drop the 325 target down to 215, and Deputy Roy Le Hérissier wants newcomers to have to wait seven years for open access to the job market, not five.

The 325 target was initially set in 2009 but in every single year since it has been broken, even though the Island is going through the worst recession in living memory. The four years since the target was set have seen an average of 575 newcomers coming to Jersey every 12 months.

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