Europeans citizens working and living in Jersey were reassured yesterday that their positions will not change as a result of last week’s Brexit vote.
Minister for External Affairs Sir Philip Bailhache said that the States wanted to be “crystal clear” on that issue.
“As far as Europeans living and working in Jersey, there will be no change,” he said. “They continue to be very welcome in Jersey.”
Jersey is outside of the European Union and its relationship to it is defined by Protocol 3 of the UK's 1972 Treaty of Accession.
When the UK joined the European Economic Area in 1994, which introduced free movement between Member States, Jersey was included. The future status of the UK's inclusion in the EEA is unclear.
“The agreements being negotiated by the UK with relation to the Common Trading Area will apply to Jersey,” Sir Philip said yesterday, but at the moment, it is not known what those will be. “We don’t know what the UK position is going to be,” he said.
UK agreements will apply to Jersey “in principle” unless the Island seeks to alter its relationship with the UK but there are no plans to that effect at the moment, Senator Bailhache added.
He pointed out that while the Leave campaign made immigration a focus, the official leave representatives have since taken the position that they are “not opposed to migration”.
When asked about seasonal migrants, Sir Philip, said again while it is not clear what future agreements will be made by the UK, Jersey’s need for seasonal agricultural workers does not differ from the UK’s own.
“I don’t think Jersey will be in a significantly worse position because our interests are very much attuned with the UK,” he said of agricultural workers.
Those Islanders hoping to work in EU without red tape, however, may lose that opportunity.
Effectively, if new UK passports are issued, all Jersey citizens will be excluding from living and working in the EU, just as Jersey citizens whose parents and grandparents were from Jersey currently are, without acquiring permits or visas. “We will all be in the same position,” Sir Philip said.