The Chamber of Commerce welcomes the review of Guernsey’s Population and Immigration policy in the face of an increasingly difficult landscape for recruitment and increasing skills shortages on the island.
We acknowledge that managed population growth is necessary to ensure a robust future for the island’s economy and community, so that flexibility is given to bring workers on to the island. Without this flexibility and openness to business needs, business will struggle to maintain the status quo, let alone actively compete with other jurisdictions for growth. Chamber recognises, however, that this need for flexibility must be balanced with clear and strategic consideration of the infrastructure demands created by population growth, including demand for housing, educational, health and social care demands, as well as the potential infrastructure and environmental impacts.
Chamber recognises and supports the need for growth, while protecting the integrity of the island. The proposed removal of Medium Term Employment Permits, whilst well-intentioned, risks creating a serious gap in coverage as between Short Term Employment Permits and Long Term Employment Permits. Specifically, the States will need to ensure that the existing policies for Long Term Permits are set at an appropriate threshold level. This will mean flexing the existing criteria so that the Population Management Office is empowered to help drive progression of employees within Guernsey. There is a risk otherwise that good Short Term workers are lost from the Guernsey economy because they are unable to progress, in appropriate circumstances, to Long-Term Employment Permits.
An investment in up-skilling and supporting the established local workforce is also a critical part of the review work to be done and should consider potential growth sectors