Work Licensing Policy
Friday 30 October 08:57
As a consequence of considerable debate and numerous comments and representations made by Chamber members on the subject of the States’ Work Licensing policy, the Jersey Chamber of Commerce recently submitted a Freedom of Information request, seeking factual information in relation to the number of License applications submitted per industry sector, and the ratio of applications granted and refused.
The responses to the request were illuminating. In 2014, a total of 1,266 applications for Work Licenses were submitted, of which 860 (68%) were granted, and 406 (32%) were refused. In the nine months to 30th September, 2015, there was a not dissimilar ratio, since there were 1,208 applications submitted, of which 746 (62%) were granted and 462 (38%) were denied.
However, when one assesses the ratio of successful and unsuccessful applications by industry sector, there are some considerable disparities.
In the finance / legal sector, there have been 472 License applications since 1st January, 2014, of which nine out of every ten applications have been granted. This is in marked contrast to the ratio of licenses granted to applicants from the hospitality sector, which has given rise to 207 applications during the first nine months of 2015, of which seven out of every ten have been refused.
Commenting on the figures, Chamber President, Kristina Le Feuvre said “We have received several representations from Chamber members expressing dismay at the difficulty of recruiting personnel to fill key roles, such as chefs, within the hospitality sector, and these figures certainly seem to indicate that there is less support for applications from those businesses engaged in the hospitality sector than there is for those engaged in the financial services sector. At a time when the Island is actively seeking to revive its tourism industry, it would seem counter productive to not provide support to those businesses on which the sector depends.”
Mrs. Le Feuvre also commented that “whilst it is impossible to know the relative calibre of the requests that were submitted across each sector, or the nature and importance of the roles for which applications were made, it is perhaps illuminating that in the first nine months of this year, the Finance / Legal sector was granted 89% of all License applications submitted, whilst in the hotel and hospitality sector, only 32% were granted.”
“Chamber of Commerce members feel that the process of application and the lack of clarity regarding the application procedure highlights the unpredictability of the process” said Mrs. Le Feuvre, and she called for clearer guidelines and examples of both successful and unsuccessful application samples to be published, to ensure that the criteria were more widely understood. “Businesses do not apply for work licenses on a whim,” she said; “the application is often a last resort after being unable to find local skills or having tried unsuccessfully for some time to fill a permanent position. It will always be in the best interests of a business to employ someone who is already settled in the Island, but in some cases this option is not possible.”