People moving to Jersey could be given one of four statuses under a suggested population policy.
The Migration Policy Development Board has released its long-awaited final report, which runs to 337 pages.
It recommends that the statuses available to workers and permissions granted to businesses under the Control of Housing and Work Law be changed to:
* A 9 month status - for extra staff needed at peak times such as the tourism season, Christmas shopping and potato-harvesting.
* A 4 year status - for extra staff needed year-round. A worker could return to the island, but only after a 12 month gap.
It says these two new statuses would not lead to the right for the worker to remain in the island permanently.
Businesses would apply for permission to employ 9 month or 4 year workers.
* 10 year status - staff needed to fill specific skill gaps. Permissions would lead to long-term residency. Workers currently 'licensed' would receive this status immediately, others would be transferred from 4 year status. After ten years the worker would gain a long term status and would
be able to work and live anywhere without restriction.
Businesses would apply for permissions to employ 10 year status workers on a named individual basis. They couldn't hold vacant permissions for this category of worker.
* Long term status -available to people who have lived in Jersey for at least 10 years, giving them full access to the local housing and job markets. In the future this will only be available to people who have been brought up in Jersey and to people transferring from a 10 year status permission.
The Migration Policy Development Board says the statuses would allow the government to have a much closer control of the number of workers settling here permanently.
The panel has raised concerns over the current rules to migrants accessing health care, saying it should be offered from day one.
"The Board shares particular concerns about the current rules on a migrant’s access to healthcare in their first 6 months in the island, and recommends that a worker’s valid CHW card should give a right to free / subsidised healthcare from day one in Jersey, and that this is extended to civil or married partners and dependent children living in Jersey."
It also suggests:
*returning seasonal workers have access to benefits where they have already 'paid in' for the qualifying period.
* separate work is done to consider the impact of migration controls on children
Another recommendation is to form an 'independent expert population panel' and to merge the Customs and Immigration service and Customer and Local Services department to simplify the process for new migrants.
"Transitioning to a new system will require careful management and the Board recommends:
• that all existing licences be transferred to 10 year permissions and granted on a named worker basis;
• that vacant licences are not transferred to the new system; and
• that all existing registered workers are given transitional rights to continue to work inJersey for up to 5 years, in order to gain access to the local labour market (ETWstatus)." - MPDB
The Board is recommending a timeline for what should happen next, which would involve a policy paper being published in April and debated in the States Assembly in June. It suggests law changes could be agreed in early 2021 and fully implemented in 2022.
Channel 103 asked the government for an interview on the newly-released report but was told by the Communications Unit "we are not putting anyone from the Government up for interviews on this."
"The report on migration from the Policy Development Board has been discussed by the Council of Ministers, and further discussions are due to be held for ministers to develop their policy principles on migration. Then a policy paper is due to be presented to the States Assembly in April. This remains policy under development until that point, so Ministers won’t be discussing this ongoing work."
In a statement, the Chief Minister has welcomed the migration report, saying Ministers will now consider its findings.
“The Board’s final report has provided a good basis for the Council of Minister’s considerations on the matter of population control. It is an emotive subject, and one that Islanders feel passionate about resolving. This report offers recommendations on how the Government can proceed to make the decisions required to deliver responsive and economically sustainable controls.
I thank the Board members and those who engaged with the Board’s research, for their time and commitment to this important subject. The Government is determined to address the difficulties that arise with controlling who comes to live, work and access public services in Jersey.
The proposals are not binding and have been developed to advise the Chief Minister following research undertaken by the Board." - Senator John Le Fondre.
The MPDB was formed last March. Its members are:
Connétable Christopher Taylor (Chair)
Deputy Judy Martin
Deputy John Young
Senator Sarah Ferguson
Deputy Rowland Huelin
Dr Michael Oliver
Murray Norton, Chamber of Commerce
John Shenton, Institute of Directors