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."
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.”
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.
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.
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”).
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.
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