Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Seasonal Registration Cards: Comments from Correspondents

Kevin Keen has seen my original suggestion for a "seasonal registration card" for the hospitality industry, and Senator Paul Routier's reply.
I suggested a time-limited "seasonal card" which was cheaper, but had to be "converted" to a standard registration card if the employee was here for more than 3 months. Here's my post:
Senator Paul Routier gave a guest reply, with permission to publish at:
In particular, he said:
"Before I outline in detail my thoughts, I would mention that what has been missed by the reporting is that the card costs £35 for a person who has worked in Jersey before. As is often the case with seasonal workers, they return over a number of years. Furthermore, it is not something that has to be paid more than once, i.e. a worker can work in Jersey this season and pay for their card, and then use the card again next season without further charge. This may not detract from the points you raise, but does seem worth mentioning and means that the impact in future years will be lesser."
"Perhaps more fundamentally, however, the emphasis of our policies at the moment is very much one of supporting locally qualified people into work. While this is often challenging, the back to work programme offer considerable support, including financial incentives, for employers to take on local people. In this context, the registration fee is not inconsistent."
Reply by Kevin Keen
Kevin Keen has given me permission to make his comment public about Senator Routier's reply:
Fair points, but he takes a narrow view of tourism. For example retail is very dependent on tourism. They could take up your suggestion for all seasonal jobs (up to say 20 weeks).
I don't get the point about preferring locals, it is going to be miles easier to employ a local if they want the job and have the skills to do it. Occasionally you hear locals are holding out for a job in public sector or finance industry. This is understandable because these jobs are usually better paid and probably more sociable hours but the seasonal jobs need doing and they are not taking permanent jobs away from locals.
Reply by Adam Gardiner:
And my correspondent Adam Gardiner has this to comment:
My first reaction is that if cards are 'permanent' for seasonal staff, that does not actually limit immigration at all. The math is simple, 375 people each year for 10 years increases our population by nearly 4,000 over that period. Add to that birth rate (currently around 1,000 per year) and we are looking at our propagation growing by 14,000 by 2024. By way of comparison that is almost by the current population of St. Brelade!
Surely any scheme which is essentially designed to limit immigration by deterring speculative arrivals on the one hand, and on the other fill only peak time vacancies needs to be end-dated?
Work permit, right to work call it what you like, is always time limited elsewhere, or have conditions attached although there are mechanisms to extend them or eventually gain permanent residence. The Jersey fudge also has the potential to promote the grey economy in my opinion.
A right to work is not the same as having work. At the risk of sounding racist, the East European countries in particular, and who now feature amongst our largest number of immigrants, have exceptionally well developed grey economies born out of necessity which has become almost part of their culture They know how to survive in the shadows and 'fiddle the system'.
Why on earth we had to have a fixed quota in the first place is beyond me. There are other methods. If I take NZ as an example, they have a three tier system - based on work visas. Full details: http://www.newzealandnow.govt.nz/move-to-nz/new-zealand-visa/work-visa  
In every case all must be arranged BEFORE you travel. You are otherwise free to travel to the country as a visitor, on a tourist visa or standard passport, but must leave within 3 months of arrival and be in possession of a return ticket on arrival - although extensions may granted in certain circumstances.
In accepting that Jersey has several obligations under EU legislation, and perhaps we cannot issue visa's per se, the general principles that allow NZ to:
(i)  regulate is population without limiting delivery of its economic and/or social policies,
(ii) assures that casual and seasonal employment does not runaway or create a grey economy, and also
(iii) ensures temporary immigrants do not add unreasonable burden to the State
all seem very sensible to me.

Reply from James

And my correspondent James comments:

"Furthermore, it is not something that has to be paid more than once, i.e. a worker can work in Jersey this season and pay for their card, and then use the card again next season without further charge"

I hesitate to call Senator Routier a liar, but at least some of the cards that Population are issuing are end-dated. Mine (which is an ETW (entitled to work) card) has a 3-month validity on it.

First question: if ETW cards are end-dated and Registered cards are not, why would you give a seasonal worker an open-dated card, but not someone who is resident? Surely it ought to be the other way round if the States are serious about prioritising getting local people back to work?

Second question: if both cards are end-dated, then what Senator  Routier says above simply isn't true. A seasonal worker would need to re-apply for a card every time they started a job.

Constable Phillip Rondel asked Senator Routier for a reply on the rationale of end-dating cards on my behalf. That was 11 days ago. I am still waiting to see a response.


No comments: