Short-term work permits in Guernsey for non-EU workers

Waitress carrying three plates. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The hospitality industry has been struggling to recruit workers

Non-European Union (EU) workers can apply for short-term work permits in Guernsey after "uncertainty" over Brexit impacted recruitment.

The Home Affairs Committee (HA) made changes allowing people from outside the European common travel area to work for up to nine months.

It said Brexit had disrupted recruitment from Europe.

The changes were made in consultation with the hospitality industry, which has been struggling to recruit workers.

Previously, the island scrapped all temporary permits, but reintroduced them for workers inside the EU in 2017.

The hospitality industry had complained to the HA over the time it takes to process full permits and requested the nine-month permit be extended to all workers.

'Crisis levels'

The average permit took 24 days to process in 2019, down from 31 in the previous year, according to the government.

On the advice of HA, the Guernsey Border Agency undertook a review of the permit system and recommended the change.

HA president Mary Lowe said it was attempting to streamline the process to attract overseas staff to the industry.

Deputy Lowe said "uncertainty" over Brexit had been a major factor in disrupting the recruitment of European workers.

"That's what started it all really... once we know a little bit more about Brexit it might help the situation.

"All we can do is provide the opportunities for the businesses to accommodate their staff through immigration."

General manager of the Duke of Normandy Hotel Alan Sillett said service on the island had "suffered".

"It's been plainly obvious for the last two or three years it has got to crisis levels," he said.

The change was not a "silver bullet", he added, but he felt it stood a good chance of helping to address the immediate staffing shortfall.

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