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Population review to consider "changing economic needs" after Covid

Population review to consider

Tuesday 19 October 2021

Population review to consider "changing economic needs" after Covid

Tuesday 19 October 2021

The States has commenced a major review of the island's population and immigration policies.

Terms of Reference for the Population and Immigration Policy Review have been published, outlining the scope and objectives for the review, which has been marked as a Government priority.

The steering group’s membership includes industry representatives, plus the Presidents of Home Affairs, Policy & Resources, Economic Development, Education, Sport & Culture and Employment & Social Security.

The double whammy of both Brexit and the pandemic has seen many seasonal and semi-permanent workers return to their resident country and not return.

Inflation in the rental housing market has only exarcebated recruitment issues across the board, from hospitality to health.

Deputies Neil Inder & Rob Prow

Pictured: The Bailiwick retains some discretional powers in its immigration rules after Brexit, which has prevented politicians from having to adopt the UK points-based immigration system, which is predominantly limited to 'skilled' jobs.

Home Affairs has made changes to Population Management policies within the framework of the current laws, including exemptions to 9/3 permits until the end of 2022. 

Public money will also be used towards a States-backed international recruitment campaign on behalf of hospitality.

The more extensive review of the population laws implemented in 2017 will investigate whether these laws are serving the Bailiwick well and whether changes are needed to align with new population targets. 

“The review will need to consider the changing economic needs as a result of the Covid pandemic and the implications of Brexit,” said Home Affairs President Rob Prow, the Chair of the Population and Immigration Review Panel. 

“It is essential that the review balances the need to both manage population growth and pressure on public services, housing stock and the environment while also ensuring the island can access the off-island workforce to address local skills and manpower shortages to support economic growth.” 

"Population changes need to be focused on younger people moving to the island"

Economic Development President Neil Inder said the States is “working overdrive” to help businesses through changes to current population management policies or our Committee and a “first-of-its-kind” recruitment campaign on behalf of hospitality. 

He stressed that his committee is looking beyond just short-term measures. 

“We know we also need to look to the future and make sure our population and immigration policy meets the island’s needs. 

“I’m of the view that any population changes need to be focused on younger people moving to the island. Skills-based talent, with a long future.” 

Policy & Resources Committee President Peter Ferbrache said the review will need to be both comprehensive and swift in order to address very real issues. 

“We need to make sure our population and immigration policy is an enabler to help us meet the challenges ahead. The review will cut across various committee mandates and while it is too early to pre-empt the findings we will work at pace, as we recognise the importance of concluding the review and bringing proposals to the States next year.” 

The key objectives of the review include:

  • Analysis of what the size of Guernsey’s economically active working population will need to be in order to maintain sustainable economic growth over the medium to long term; 

  • Working with the Population Employment Advisory Panel and Skills Guernsey to support the development of the skills of the resident workforce and those who are not working; 

  • Consideration of pathways to Permanent Resident status, including birth and ancestry rights and the rights of minors in Alderney and Sark; 

  • The availability of Local and Open Market housing stock and how future population management policy might impact on future housing needs.

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