In response to the introduction of the Population Management Law earlier this year, the Committee for Economic Development has been approached by a number of representatives acting on behalf of the hospitality sector expressing their concerns with certain aspects of the recently enacted Law.
Specifically, the Committee has been made aware of increasing difficulties in the ability of the Island to attract and retain suitably a skilled workforce to this sector.
Deputy Jennifer Merrett stated:
"The Committee is concerned that the availability of labour for the hospitality sector is now directly affecting Guernsey's economic competitiveness. This is evidenced by some businesses having to close on certain days of the week as a result of staff shortages. The Committee is very much of the view that the position the hospitality sector finds itself in is not good for the businesses concerned, the economy or those residents and visitors who enjoy the services that they offer".
In response to the concerns, the Committee has prepared a set of Propositions and a policy letter for the States to consider at its meeting in November. Deputy Merrett stated:
"The Propositions being advanced by the Committee ask the States to support the immediate amendment of the Population Management Law in order to address the concerns of the hospitality sector. Specifically, the Committee is seeking to ensure that Short Term Employment Permits can be reissued annually in perpetuity, so that permit holders need not take a break in residency after five years. It is also seeking to remove the need for Open Market Employment Permit holders (Parts B and C) to take a recognised break in residence after 5 years and to enable them to also be resident in perpetuity. The Committee is convinced that these changes need to be made to provide for a more continuous and predictable supply of staff".
Deputy Merrett continued:
"The policy letter also seeks the agreement of the States to remove the requirement for Open Market Employment Permit holders (Parts B and C) to be accommodated at a particular property that is currently inscribed on the face of the Permit. This will provide for more flexible and efficient use of staff accommodation across the Island and will remove the requirement for permit holders to move accommodation when moving within the industry".
Deputy Merrett added:
"The Committee is aware that the Committee for Home Affairs is looking at amending the legislation. However, the Committee for Economic Development is of the view that these changes must be made immediately to ensure the continued viability of businesses as they look to recruit staff for the 2018 season".