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Committee for Home Affairs introduces further changes to Population Management policies in support of businesses

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Tuesday 12 October 2021

The Committee for Home Affairs has made additional changes to Population Management policies as it further demonstrates its commitment to support businesses.

These changes include the extension, until the end of 2022, of two temporary policies designed to help businesses retain staff who would otherwise have been due to leave the island as their employment permit expired.

In addition to extending these two policy changes until the end of 2022, which are aimed at supporting employers to retain good staff who want to remain in the island, the Committee has also introduced a temporary fee exemption for new arrivals coming to the island to work on a short-term employment permit. The Committee has agreed to temporarily waive these costs for employers, which are £120 per application, due to ongoing recruitment challenges for many businesses.  This fee exemption will also be in place until 31st December 2022.

The Committee also agreed to introduce a new policy which represents a more flexible approach to Open Market minors than currently exists in the law and its underlying policies. The new policy principle states that in defined circumstances where it is considered not possible for someone who was first resident in Guernsey in the Open Market household of their parent(s) to continue living with the householder named on their permit, and that person has already lived in Guernsey for at least eight consecutive years, they can generally expect to be granted a permit so that they can occupy Local Market housing as a householder.

In taking this decision, the Committee recognises the need, wherever possible, to encourage the retention of young working-age professionals in the island. This kind of continual review and change is in keeping with the desire for the population management regime to be flexible in managing the size and make-up of the population to face the challenges of the future.

Deputy Rob Prow, President of the Committee for Home Affairs, said:

'For the last year, since the Committee was formed after the General Election, one of our consistent messages has been that we will do everything we can to support businesses by continually reviewing the policies that form the population management regime to ensure there is as much flexibility for employers and their staff as possible. These latest changes are further evidence of our commitment in this area of our mandate.

'We know that recruitment is challenging at the moment, due to the pandemic but also because of the impact of Brexit in ways outside our island's control. If possible, we want businesses to keep good quality staff who in turn want to remain in the island. Allowing employment permits to be extended up to seven years, instead of the previous maximum of five, should help. Likewise, although we have deviated from the UK's points based system for EU nationals, we cannot influence things like the UK's EU visa arrangements but we can control our charges for employment permits so waiving the cost of these for new arrivals coming in on short-term employment permits should hopefully be welcome news for employers seeking to bring new staff to the island.

'We also recognise the need to make it as easy as possible for young people to remain in the island. We know that young people brought to the island by their parents and living in the open market may want to remain here as they enter the world of work. We have decided to make a policy change to enable those young people, should they no longer be able to live with their parents in the open market, to get a permit in their own right so they can continue living in Guernsey and contributing to the economy.'

Deputy Nick Moakes, member of the Committee for Economic Development, commented on the change in Open Market policy:

'Making it easier for all of our young people to return to or remain in Guernsey is very welcome news indeed. Given the island's changing demographics, this has never been so important.'

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