Friday 31 March 2023
Following States approval of the Population and Immigration Policy Review proposals in October 2022, the Committee for Home Affairs has been working to implement the required changes needed to realise the ambitions of the Assembly - namely providing even greater flexibility for businesses in their efforts to recruit and retain the staff they need.
The Committee for Home Affairs is pleased to be able to announce that, from 3 April 2023, a new combined population and immigration policy framework will be in place that will introduce the far-reaching changes agreed by the States.
This change means businesses will now have significant opportunities to recruit much-needed staff from anywhere in the world.
These benefits are principally achieved through tying the Immigration Work Permit Policy to the Employment Permit Policy (EPP) for rest of the world, rather than only EU/EEA nationals as is the case currently. In doing so, local businesses employing to over 250 roles listed in the EPP will have access to a global pool of workers from which to recruit, rather than being restricted to CTA and EU/EEA countries only. British or Irish nationals (or those who possess Leave to Remain in the Common Travel Area) continue to not need a visa.
The changes have the potential to help businesses combat recruitment challenges experienced since Brexit and the pandemic. It will also make things easier for employers who now only need to work with a single policy rather than separate Immigration/Population Management policies.
To make this change possible within the parameters of the island's membership of the Common Travel Area - essential for economic and security reasons - the Committee has simplified the employment permit system. It has removed the five-year Medium Term Employment Permits (MTEPs) but retained one-year Short Term Employment Permits (STEPs), which are now renewable for up to three years consecutive, rather than aggregate, residence before the holder must leave the island for a recognised break in residency. Staff already here on a STEP will be able to have their permit renewed for five years given this was the situation for the individual and employer when they first moved to the island. Seasonal Employment Permits (SEP) will also continue to be available for eligible individuals.
Long Term Employment Permits (LTEPs), which are for eight years and provide a route to established residency, can also been retained but the number of jobs now receiving this permit has been significantly increased. A majority of roles previously granted MTEPs will now receive LTEPs, again providing further support to businesses in recruiting and retaining quality staff.
Limiting workers arriving on a Short-Term Employment Permit to a maximum of three years - unless they progress to a role with a Long Term Employment Permit attached - is essential if the island wishes to open up recruitment opportunities worldwide, to ensure these staff will not qualify for CTA-wide Indefinite Leave to Remain or settlement.
Deputy Rob Prow, President of the Committee for Home Affairs, said:
'Following the States' decision in October to support our Committee's proposals on the future of the island's population and immigration policy, we have been working through the necessary changes to realise the ambitions of providing even greater flexibility for businesses in their efforts to recruit and retain the staff they need.
'We're very pleased that the new combined population and immigration policy framework will be in place from 3 April 2023. It will both streamline the application process for employers, who will now be able to deal with population and immigration matters via a single process, but also open up significant recruitment opportunities for businesses in the island to look further afield for the staff they need.'
Businesses that have employees on an MTEPs do not need to do anything at this stage. The MTEP will remain valid up until the initial expiry date, with the business and member of staff having several options if their role is one of the many that will now qualify for LTEPs under the new framework.
- a) Apply for an LTEP upon expiry for the same member of staff
- b) Apply for an LTEP any time before expiry, once the new policy is in place
- c) Apply for a new LTEP for a different individual
Further information on the new policy, the application process and how to make applications can be found at www.gov.gg/epp
Alternatively, businesses with questions about the new policy are encouraged to contact the Population Management Office at email@example.com or by telephone on 01481 225790 or the Guernsey Border Agency at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 01481 221420
Officers will also be offering a series of workshops to help employers understand the new policy and help them benefit from worldwide recruitment. Dates and locations are yet to be confirmed but will be announced as soon as possible.