Author: Juliet Pouteaux
WHILE Guernsey might be set to adopt part of the UK’s immigration act ending free movement for European workers, it does not mean the island will necessarily use a point-based system, Home Affairs president Rob Prow has said, following 11th hour negotiations with the UK.
But details of what will be put in place may only be revealed after the States meeting, as Deputy Prow said he expects further information to be unveiled ‘in a few days’.
The States is being asked to approve a policy letter to extend the act to the Bailiwick concerning Brexit and biometric data.
At the end of the Brexit transition period on 1 January, the current situation for the UK – to give preference to EU nationals when it comes to immigration – will end.
Instead the UK will introduce a points-based system focusing on what skills and talents people have to decide who gets visas.
There have been concerns this will make it difficult to recruit low-skilled workers from off-island.
From 2021, EU nationals looking to move to the Bailiwick will be treated the same as non-EU nationals, requiring a work permit.
In Guernsey, this will be included within the Population Management Law permits.
Deputy Prow said that his committee was working closely with the Home Office to ensure the post-Brexit regime respected the Common Travel Area, which includes the UK, Ireland and the Crown Dependencies.
‘The Bailiwick does have some discretional powers to enable a differing approach from other CTA members in the area of employment and, working with Economic Development and Policy & Resources, the committee is seeking to ensure future arrangements meet the needs of the islands and its economy,’ he said.
‘As we approach the end of the Brexit transition period, 11th-hour negotiations have meant we have had to work at pace to establish policies that will support individuals and industry whilst essentially retaining movement within the common travel area.
‘These policies are now well progressed and the committee will be announcing further details in the coming days.’
The Bailiwick is part of the Common Travel Area, which is being retained regardless of Brexit.
The participation means that the immigration regime will need to respect this relationship and ensure that it does not undermine the CTA. This provides a degree of flexibility and means the regime does not need to be identical.
The term EU is inclusive of the European Economic Area – Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – and Swiss nationals.