The Government is looking to start yet another discussion about the island’s future population policy - but this time they promise it will be “frank and open."
The new discussion will include an online consultation launching today (Thursday 29 July), focus group sessions, industry engagement, and a live-streamed panel session on Government social media channels.
Islanders can also send in their written submissions via email.
Successive Governments have failed to produce a policy on how the island should balance its finite resources with the need for new skills and labour currently unavailable on the island. Such a policy is unlikely to be in place until 2022 at the very earliest.
As a first step, in October 2020, Ministers published plans to replace the current system controlling who can live and work in Jersey following Brexit - but this was not accompanied by a population policy setting out exactly what they wanted to achieve.
The Migration Policy provides for nine-month, four-year, 10-year and long-term permissions to live in the island, removes the ability for a business to 'recycle' a permission between employees, and tightens up criminal record checks.
Since then, 40 States members have backed a proposition for a full population policy to be delivered before the States Assembly by the end of 2021. and States Members held an open debate on problems caused by Jersey’s growing population, which currently sits around 108,000, and the potential ways to solve them.
Pictured: The Chief Minister admitted the issue has been ongoing for years.
The Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, himself admitted the issue has been ongoing for years in a statement he provided to announce the “frank and open” discussion. He also acknowledged Governments’ failures, including his own, to introduce a population policy.
“People in Jersey have been discussing the size of the Island population for many years, and plans have been put forward by successive Governments to keep the population at a certain level,” he said.
“Despite these plans, the island has seen a steady growth in population in recent years; today we have over 100,000 inhabitants, and continued economic growth has meant people coming from outside of Jersey to work here.”
“I hope many islanders will take part in the population discussion, submit their views, and help us ensure we are taking the right actions to effectively manage our population to benefit successive generations,” he added.
Assistant Chief Minister, Deputy Rowland Huelin, who has political responsibility for development of the population policy it was “extremely important” to speak about the issue but did not say what happened to the views previously shared.
“We appreciate that there are strongly held views on this topic – there is no single answer to this problem and there are no easy solutions,” he said. “So, it is extremely important that we have this discussion to gauge and confirm existing thoughts, explore potential innovative new ideas, and get all Islanders’ views, so the policy we develop is the right one for us.”
The consultation is open to everyone living in Jersey. Ministers say they want to hear from people who have recently moved to the island, people who have moved and built their lives here over many years, and people who have lived here all their lives.
Proposals for a population policy are due to be published before the end of the year.
Assistant Economic Development Minister Deputy Kirsten Morel recently featured on the Bailiwick Pod. In a wide-ranging interview, he touched on his vision for 'net zero' migration, creating a 'model' civil service, the housing crisis, creating a happiness-focused economy, and why Jersey doesn't have to be the best at everything...
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.