Jersey’s immigration policy has been changed to allow for 150 short-term seasonal work permits which will ease the recruitment crisis in the Island’s hospitality industry.
The Chief Executive of the Jersey Hospitality Association (JHA), Simon Soar, said that the easing of regulations to allow for 9-month non-EU work permits would provide a significant boost to the industry ahead of the 2019 tourism season.
“We are absolutely delighted with this result. It is the culmination of a lot of hard work for us and the Government departments which have worked with us. In terms of recruitment, 2018 was a particularly difficult year for the majority of our members and the evidence that we were able to provide showed clearly that this was part of a wider trend rather than a one-year anomaly,” he said.
The JHA have proposed a scheme which is based on the successful work permit programme which was in place between 2000 and 2004 and fostered a mutually beneficial partnership between the Jersey industry and training bodies in Kenya. This partnership meant that skilled and knowledgeable hospitality workers were available to the industry on short-term contracts covering the peak of the season.
The JHA worked with officials in the Home Affairs and Customs and Immigration teams to find a potential solution to the staffing problems the industry is currently facing.
“We want to be clear that these permits do not mean that our commitment to a sustainable local workforce is diminished in any way. We will continue to work with Skills Jersey, Highlands College and others to ensure that the right training courses are in place to attract and skill the Island’s young people for careers in hospitality. However, the introduction is an acknowledgement that this is a long-term goal and our members need support and trained, committed and available staff now in order to thrive and meet the expectations of its clientele.
“The challenge to recruit good staff in hospitality is a global issue rather than one that is restricted to Jersey but at least we can now reach out to countries where there is a genuine desire for short-term contract work in jurisdictions like ours,” said Simon.