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Hospitality heads say new population policy “unnecessary”

Hospitality heads say new population policy “unnecessary”

Wednesday 24 February 2021

Hospitality heads say new population policy “unnecessary”

Wednesday 24 February 2021


A new population policy isn’t needed because post-Brexit immigration controls will naturally curb its growth, hospitality bosses have argued.

In a letter to States Members, the Jersey Hospitality Association outlined how the UK’s departure from the EU had slashed the labour market available to local establishments by as much as 85%, while the pandemic had also contributed to a dramatic drop in seasonal staffing permissions.

“…Existing immigration rules already achieve what the proposed Population Policy is aiming to do, therefore making it an unnecessary step, especially as we are absorbing the changes brought in because of Brexit and while we are dealing with a global pandemic,” the JHA said.

They went on to explain how new migration controls likely to be introduced in Jersey will remove “the possibility of such individuals gaining residential status or contributing to an increase in the total population."

Restaurant Cafe Food Hospitality

Pictured: The workforce available to the hospitality sector has suffered an 85% reduction due to Brexit.

Under proposals due to face a States Assembly vote next month, individuals from outside the UK granted time-limited visas to enter the island – nine months for early career positions or up to three years for more senior roles.

“This process alone will have a significant impact on the way people move in and out of the island and, in essence, will achieve many of the objectives that would be similarly addressed in a population policy.”

It comes after Express reported earlier this month that a new population policy was unlikely to be delivered by the Government by the original end-of-2021 deadline set by States Members.

populationstatsjersey.png

Pictured: Net inward migration figures released by Statistics Jersey last year.

The concession from Assistant Chief Minister Deputy Rowland Huelin, who has political responsibility for delivering the policy, came during a Scrutiny hearing in which he also noted that the migration plans would likely be voted on without a population policy in place, and that the population policy itself would likely have to be created without 2021 census data.

READ: The JHA’s letter in full…

Dear States Member,

The JHA is Jersey’s independent trade association, with sole focus on the hospitality industry. The industry peaks annually at around 6400 staff.

In July 2018, the hospitality industry had 1,633 active seasonal permissions in place. The pandemic caused a dramatic decrease in seasonal staff (1,670 according to Stats), demonstrating how dependent the industry is on seasonal staff, and therefore vulnerable to change.

In January 2021, Brexit finally came into force, and the new immigration policy became active. This is the most significant change to control factors introduced in decades. Access to free-moving individuals who could have come into the island without a border permission being granted, reduced from a possible 510 million people to 76 million. This represents a reduction of 85% to the island’s previously available labour market and is already presenting acute challenges moving forward.

The purpose of this letter is to demonstrate that existing immigration rules already achieve what the proposed Population Policy is aiming to do, therefore making it an unnecessary step, especially as we are absorbing the changes brought in because of Brexit and while we are dealing with a global pandemic.

Brief breakdown of last year’s position vs potential new position

Last year: Immigration policy – the right for someone to cross over the border into the Island for any purpose.  Previously the Jersey border was freely open to 510 million EU residents, it is now freely open to approximately 76 million who are in the Common Travel Area (CTA) or who have settled status.  All other potential entrants can be controlled.

Potential new position: Migration Policy – the local restrictions put in place to govern the ability for those not from the Island to work or reside here.  This is already achieved through the operation of the Control of Housing and Work (Jersey) law 2012 (“CHW”).

Immigration policy

Under the new immigration policy, individuals from outside the CTA are granted a permit and border permission via a visa to enter and work in the island for a fixed term, currently either 9 months for early career positions, or up to 3 years for more senior positions. This removes the possibility of such individuals gaining residential status or contributing to an increase in the total population.

This process alone will have a significant impact on the way people move in and out of the island and, in essence, will achieve many of the objectives that would be similarly addressed in a population policy.

Jersey Hospitality Association

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Posted by Guy de Faye on
For at least two decades Jersey's economics has been based on growth achieved by attracting more residents and workers to pay additional tax - the Income Tax Instalment System (ITIS) was introduced to ensure that seasonal workers could not avoid their tax contribution.

Unfortunately, the strategy was fundamentally flawed as it did not account for the additional infrastructure required to accommodate the new high earners, whose families needed across the board servicing such as gardeners, home and vehicle maintenance, medical attention and schooling and the obvious waste disposal and water resources, elements of which required an additional intake of "low earners".

Warnings on population were issued regularly, by Jersey's Conservation Officer (subsequently Environmental Adviser) Dr Mike Romeril, from 1978 onwards - YES, that's more than 40 years notice!!!
Jersey's government was initially briefed that the sustainable population for the Island was 80,000.

When that figure was comprehensively ignored, Dr Romeril stated that should population figures exceed 86,000, life in Jersey would become progressively more unpleasant. Dr Romeril - a Jerseyman - retired to the UK. The latest official estimate of local population level is just under 108,000 - I suspect it is higher.

Jersey taxpayers have supported the hospitality industry in many ways with vast sums of money, from catering courses at Highlands to the roughly £8 Million per annum cost of the former Tourism Department.

Unfortunately, ALL primary Jersey economic and political issues stem from the basic problem of overpopulation and "zero migration" barely tackles the ongoing catastrophe. The Jersey Hospitality Association needs to do something they have the expertise for. As for the rest of us, as well - "it is time to wake up and smell the coffee"!
Posted by Donal Dolo on
but what about all the flats
Posted by Private Individual on
An immigration policy is desperately needed along with Zero net migration.

This is long overdue.

Many of us have been calling for a strict immigration policy for decades and they have been ignored.

Frank Walker and the COM are solely responsible for the debacle that is our immigration policy as his mantra was to go for growth at any cost.

Well, the cost is the despoiling of everything we ever held dear in Jersey, with the taxpayer expected to pay for everything now.

The quicker this policy is introduced the better.
Posted by Paul Troalic on
Sorry to disagree but a population policy is definitely needed and is way overdue.
Yes of course the exit from the EU will curtail the continued infiltration of foreign nationals arriving to work in the hospitality industry but it won't stop people emigrating here from the United Kingdom. We may need some of their expertise but we must stop people thinking this is the land of milk and honey and deciding to migrate here.
We do not want any more people coming here to live permanently, whoever they are so let's get the population policy installed now rather than later.
Stop the waffling and the delays and get a population policy on the go as soon as possible please. It's what the people of Jersey want and our elected politicians are supposed to carry out our wishes.
Posted by Patricia Le Ruez on
Yes, Dr. Romeril was right and those of us who were concerned and keep banging on about it are ignored. The economy is unbalanced. Jersey is on a treadmill and they just don't know how, or are unwilling, to get off it. 'Reap what you will sow'
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