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Work permit exemptions "will help businesses retain valued members of staff"

Work permit exemptions

Thursday 24 June 2021

Work permit exemptions "will help businesses retain valued members of staff"

Thursday 24 June 2021


Home Affairs is extending an exemption to the 9/3 work permit so that guest workers can remain in the island during their three-month 'break'.

The exemption to the '9 months on, 3 months off' Discretionary Resident Permit will remain in place until at least the end of September.

First introduced by the Committee in November last year in response to business concerns over recruitment and retention, it means those with a DRP can stay here without violating their agreed work pattern. 

Home Affairs said any business that wants to keep a valued member of staff, but has concerns that their permit will soon expire, should contact the Population Management Office to explore all possible options. 

“Our Committee has consistently said that we’ll do everything we can to support businesses and their staff,” said President Rob Prow.

“We were successful in gaining [the UK's] agreement to implement our own Work Permit Policy rather than adopting the UK’s points-based immigration system post-Brexit."

UK_Parliament_Brexit.jpg

Pictured: Deputy Prow countered some of the criticism levelled at Guernsey's population regime by business groups, saying it has a built-in flexibility that has allowed Home to come up with "bespoke" solutions to local recruitment challenges. He said the island has little control over the harsh reality that Brexit "has resulted in additional process and expense from an immigration perspective."

“I know some in our community believe the Population Management Law has contributed to challenges recruiting staff externally, but the truth is the fact our Immigration Work Permit Policy and the Population Management regime tie-in together is what allowed us to have a bespoke work permit system relevant to us and our economy, of which the shortage of occupation list is key. 

“We hope that the further extension of the exemption in place for those staff on a 9/3 permit, meaning they don’t have to leave the island for their three-month break, helps those businesses that rely on the seasonal working pattern by eliminating the need for those staff to take a residency break.”

For EU nationals already in the island, the EU Settled Status scheme was introduced and so far more than 4,000 people have taken the opportunity to register. The deadline for registrations ends on Wednesday 30 June. 

“It was only due to the UK’s membership of the EU that the Bailiwick was able to benefit from the free movement of people,” said Deputy Prow.

“For businesses seeking to recruit new staff from the EU, it is a fact that Brexit has resulted in additional process and expense from an immigration perspective. This is a UK system that affects the Crown Dependencies, of which we have very little control, which requires any EU national to secure a visa to enter the UK or Crown Dependencies.”

The Home President argued that it is “a challenging and complex area, heavily influenced by Brexit-related circumstances outside the island’s control” and that the island’s membership of the Common Travel Area means there are commitments to fulfil. 

“From an immigration perspective, while the Committee took the decision before Brexit that the island would not follow the UK’s points-based system – and through discussions with the UK it was accepted that the Bailiwick had unique needs based on the make-up our economy - the process and costs involved in securing visas for new entrants into the UK and Crown Dependencies are determined by the UK. 

“While the Committee took the decision in December to merge the application processes for Population Management and Immigration and waive costs associated with the EU immigration work permit requirement in Guernsey, the cost of the visa is set and retained by the UK and not within the Committee’s gift to alter.”

Pictured top: Home Affairs President Rob Prow. 

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