Bringing in recruits from outside of Jersey is going to cost more in a bid to curb the Island's growing population and ensure more employees are home-grown.
The States have today announced a raft of new charges expected to generate up to £600,000, which will pay for island-based skills training, and to help administer the migration system.
But the Chamber of Commerce, which represents hundreds of local enterprises, has hit out at what they call a new “tax”, which they claim has been planned without any consultation, and will force up the price of doing business in Jersey.
Under the new plans, businesses – but not charities or the States themselves – will see the annual fee for each licensed employee rise by £50 to £225 from November. There will also be a new charge of £50 a year for each registered employee, excluding peak seasonal staff, if the States agree.
Pictured: Assistant Minister in charge of Population Senator Paul Routier hopes for a States debate on the new measures by summer.
External contractors or other businesses temporarily visiting the Island will see charges for a visit lasting over 90 days cost up to £3,500 – more than double what they paid previously – effective from July.
Registration cards for registered and licensed persons will increase by £5 to £80 also by the summer, while those arriving in Jersey under the High Value Residents Scheme will have to pay £7,500 for permission to come here, up from £5,000 previously.
The Population Office also aim to see employment agencies charged £500 for every registered member of staff they are permitted.
If all are successfully implemented, Ministers argue that the new fees will ensure that the taxpayer no longer has to bear the burden of funding inward migration, pushing that cost onto businesses instead.
Social Security will also be tasked with ensuring that fewer businesses ‘recycle’ a license to employ someone from outside the island, once that employee has been here five years, and so becomes 'entitled' instead - which in itself accounts for a population rise of 600-700 people annually.
However, while Chamber welcome an investment into professional skills, they say these new charges go too far.
Pictured: Eliot Lincoln, President of the Chamber of Commerce, said that businesses are already facing an "uphill struggle" to operate under rising costs.
They say that while they welcome an investment into professional skills, Jersey businesses already have to “foot the bill” for taxes including the new solid and waste charges, which already raise operation costs by tens of thousands per year.
Chamber President, Eliot Lincoln commented: “There needs to be a sensible debate about population, a discussion that will help form policy across all government departments including education, health and social security. A policy, which encourages enterprise and innovation. A policy that looks beyond the current MTFP term.”
“Our members continually tell us they are facing an uphill struggle in finding new ways of absorbing the increasing cost of operating in Jersey. These latest fee increases will force some businesses, especially those in the building industry who are facing new land taxes under the proposed Community Infrastructure Levy, and now as part of this proposal an additional £500 land or property tax, to seriously consider whether trading in the island is viable.”
Despite Senator Gorst’s pledge to, “…help businesses to keep prices low” at a Jersey Business breakfast earlier this week, it emerged that the Chamber had not been consulted on the proposed charges at all – until the day prior to their announcement.
They’re now strongly urging the government to engage with the business community ahead of implementation.
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