The Minister for Home Affairs, Connétable Len Norman, has approved a change in policy that will make 130 seasonal work permits available for the agriculture industry to employ workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA).
The work permits will be issued to agricultural workers subject to satisfactory applications and will be valid for 7 months, with an individual being required to have a period of at least 3 months of absence from the island before they can return to work under a permit.
The change to the Jersey immigration work permit policy follows a similar pilot scheme which is being introduced in the UK to support the labour requirements of its own agricultural and horticultural industry. It is therefore consistent with current steps being taken elsewhere in the Common Travel Area.
Connétable Len Norman said: “The Jersey Farmers Union have put forward a detailed and well-researched case setting out the difficulties the industry has faced in sourcing labour from within the EU and EEA. This has been supported by representations from other employers within the agricultural sector.
“In view of these current challenges, I am satisfied that it is necessary to make 130 work permits available in order to help ensure our farmers and growers can employ sufficient staff for the coming season.”
The Minister added: “Unless we act now, the consequences will be the loss of contracts and established growers having to close down. This would be damaging for a traditional island industry that is important to us both economically and culturally. It is vital that Government provides support to business wherever possible, and I hope to have done so on this occasion.”
In line with the pilot scheme that has recently been announced in the UK, the Minister will review this amendment to the work permit policy within 2 years.
States of Jersey Press Release.