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Migration control plans "incoherent and lacking detail"

Migration control plans

Friday 26 February 2021

Migration control plans "incoherent and lacking detail"

The Government’s plan to control migration in the coming years is incoherent, lacking detail and appears unworkable for agriculture and construction, according to a new review.

In its review of the Government’s plan to introduce nine-month, four-year and ten-year permission statuses for migrant workers, and one long-term permission, the Migration and Population Review Panel says that States Members will need a lot more information before they vote on the new rules.

The panel, led by Senator Steve Pallett, also argues that the Council of Ministers should publish a population policy by the end of this year - a previous commitment the Assistant Chief Minister Deputy Rowland Huelin, who has political responsibility for the project, has said is now unlikely to be met.

Senator Pallett said: “We recognise that the Government is in an unenviable position in relation to the timing of the proposition. 

“The need for a population policy and a review of the Island’s migration controls is urgent but we also face a combination of global and national factors, compounded by a lack of robust data that means the States Assembly are likely to be debating controls without being able to see the whole picture."


Pictured: “We would all accept that increasing the island’s population at 1,000+ a year is unsustainable," Senator Pallett said.

He continued: “This panel has no desire to delay debate on the introduction of a responsive system, but we need to make sure it is right and equitable for all who come to live and work in Jersey. We hope our recommendations will assist and address some of the concerns that have been expressed to us. 

“I think we would all accept that increasing the island’s population at 1,000+ a year is unsustainable. The consequences for our health service, schools, roads, housing and our cherished environment will be extremely damaging and, ultimately, lead to a much lower level of wellbeing for islanders.

“However, our economic sectors require the necessary workforce to be able to thrive and grow, and some need staff and skills that are not currently available to hire as and when they require them. 

“We have, over a long period of time, become more reliant on a migrant workforce to fill these gaps, and this will continue to be the case but we need to find a way to make sure that this doesn’t come at the cost of a lower quality of life for those already living and working here.”


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

He added: “One of the themes which became clear from the respondents to this review was that there was a lack of understanding about how the new work permits would work alongside immigration rules and whether the costs of new regulation could have financial implications for some businesses. 

“The panel has included in its recommendations that clarity be provided in these areas to ensure that States Members – and the public - are fully aware of the relationship between the immigration and work permit requirements.”

Other recommendations include:

  • a commitment from the Chief Minister to consult further consultation with agricultural, hospitality and construction before the new work permissions become law;
  • making the costs of employing a migrant worker clear to businesses;
  • and ensuring that the proposed independent expert panel that will advise the Government on population matters has clear terms of reference which are approved by the States.

It comes after hospitality heads wrote to the Chief Minister, arguing that a new population policy was "unnecessary" because migration controls would naturally curb growth.

Responding to the open letter yesterday, Senator John Le Fondré said: “I am grateful to the Chief Executive of the Jersey Hospitality Association [Simon Soar] for his detailed letter voicing the industry’s concerns regarding future migration controls. I can reassure him that the government has no intention of “turning all the available control mechanisms to maximum in one fell swoop.

“Instead, the debate next week is the first step in creating a coherent population policy with effective migration controls, and recognising the distinction between immigration controls and migration controls. The proposed controls set out in P.137/2020 do not increase or decrease the number of migrants who can come to the Island: they just offer a more effective way of controlling the flow.

“The changes are designed to make it easier for the government to support the overall future economy of the island with targeted migration where it is needed.   The controls will therefore provide the levers to implement a policy which will be debated at the end of 2021."

Restaurant Cafe Food Hospitality

Pictured: The Jersey Hospitality Association explained that the workforce available to their sector had suffered an 85% reduction due to Brexit.

He added: “We are acutely aware of the tensions that exist between protecting our economy, our environment and our wider community, and these will be at the heart of the forthcoming population policy. The migration controls are there to ensure that Jersey remains agile to the ever changing demands of today’s global economy, and the Island’s expectations. 

“Mr Soar suggests that immigration controls are sufficient and no changes are needed to the Control of Housing and Work Law (CHW).  However an employer will only be granted an immigration work permit if they already hold a permission in respect of that job.  

“As such, it is vital that the government makes changes to the law now to ensure that it provides the level of control that we need  as we deal with all of the challenges that we will face in the future."

CLICK HERE to read the full Scrutiny review.

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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.

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Posted by Donal Dolo on
just pay the right wage for people already here. i worked 60 hrs a week and it did not cover my rent the is something really wrong here and it needs fixing asap
Posted by Guy de Faye on
It is both astonishing and utterly depressing that senior States Members describe the need for a population policy. As I stated in recent correspondence, the government of Jersey was made aware that the sustainable population for the Island was 80,000 - that was over 40 years ago. That WAS the original population policy.

That figure was ignored, prompting our local expert - former Environmental Adviser, Dr Mike Romeril - to warn that should the population level increase beyond 86,0000 - the quality of life in Jersey would progressively deteriorate. That figure has now been smashed by 20,000+ and Jersey now generates its own internal population growth with an additional 100 births exceeding the annual number of deaths.

One wonders just how much more consultation and information gathering is needed for "Government of Jersey" to take a decision. Overpopulation is, as predicted, progressively degrading numerous aspects of life in Jersey and strong action is long overdue. Instead we are faced with further prevarication and continued clinging to our failed economic growth policy.

What on earth is the point of introducing migration controls that "do not increase or decrease the number of migrants who can come to the Island", but alledgedly create more effective control. The inward "flow" has to be curtailed as a matter of urgency. The failure to control population level is already requiring £Millions in infrastructure development. A few will make great profits, most will pay much more to support the projected new residents - as well as the aforementioned profits.

Now is good time to convey your thoughts to your constituency representatives in the States Assembly.
Posted by Private Individual on
It is obvious to anyone with half a brain that there will be NO stopping the gravy train of cheap imported labour from worse off countries than ours.

This has been engineered for the plethora of empty flats that have been built on the premise to house local people, they are in fact being rented out to housing at extortionate rents that the taxpayer is paying for.

Immigration and the housing market is nothing more than a scam, its a typical Ponzi scheme whereby it keeps getting sold to the next person in the chain until one day people wise up and stop playing the immigration game.

The whole system collapses then it all starts again.

The rich get richer and the workers keep paying for it.
Posted by Private Individual on
People have been asking for strict immigration control for years.

Jersey has been trashed for profit by builders and developers, with the government facilitating its destruction.

With the average price of a rabbit hutch size house way out of reach for a normal working-class family, or was that the plan all along.
Posted by Philip Hudson on
Are these people so called politicians totally incompetent and stupid
"not fit for purpose"""
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