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Refugees ruled out for Jersey over fears of a 'legal backdoor'

Refugees ruled out for Jersey over fears of a 'legal backdoor'

Wednesday 02 December 2015

Refugees ruled out for Jersey over fears of a 'legal backdoor'

Wednesday 02 December 2015

Jersey will not be taking in any Syrian refugees because it could open a legal backdoor to other refugees to flood into the Island.

Chief Minister Ian Gorst says that the Island will not be able to take on any refugees from the floods of desperate families fleeing the war-torn country – because if they did, other refugees would be able to claim the same support and help.

Months ago, the Chief Minister floated the idea of Jersey hosting "a small number" of refugee families as a humanitarian gesture to ease the desperate plight of Syrians fleeing their war-ravaged country. Both he and Guernsey Chief Minister Jonathan Le Tocq began talking to UK authorities about providing homes for the some of the 20,000 refugees that Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to allow into Britain over the next five years.

But yesterday in the States Chamber, Senator Gorst said that talks with the UK authorities had exposed a legal problem - if the Island offered shelter, employment, housing and benefits to one set of refugees, every other refugee in the UK would have a potential claim to the same treatment. And that, he said, could overwhelm the Island.

And although Senator Gorst said that he was “extremely disappointed” by the hostile reaction of some Islanders to the idea of welcoming some refugees, he said that the decision to not let them come here was for legal reasons, not for political ones.

Speaking to the States, the Chief Minister said: “If we were to make special provision for Syrian refugees, we would leave ourselves vulnerable to a legal challenge on the grounds of discrimination.

“And this would mean that any refugee – whether or not they were Syrian – who was living legally in the UK and who entered Jersey could potentially, from their point of arrival, be entitled to the same special provisions.

“We cannot expose Jersey to that risk. Our Island simply would not have the capacity to manage the impact on housing stock, on public services, or on the work market.”

In his statement, Senator Gorst said that £1 million had already been donated through the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission, and that a further substantial sum would be donated in 2016.

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Posted by June OKeeffe on
now I know they have these stupid ideas just to get a reaction or is it because another useless war is imminent
Posted by Tilly the Toad on
I'm surprised at the 'hostile' comment. Maybe if the Chief Minister respected the electorate and gave us the credit of having some intelligence this situation would not have escalated.

Word of advice Chief Minister - in future do your research first and then present a balanced proposition to the public!!
Posted by david forde on
Should have been ruled on on common sense alone.
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