Business leaders in Guernsey are urging Home Affairs president Rob Prow to press ahead immediately with the review of the population management law (PML) and not to use Brexit and Covid as the reasons for the current acute labour shortages.
The Confederation of Guernsey Industry is calling for action to amend the legislation which it says is damaging and risks becoming ‘terminal’ for certain sectors. This follows the States’ recent announcement of a limited relaxation in restrictions and its plans for a review in 2022.
CGi chairman Dave Newman said: “We have been encouraged through our discussions with Home Affairs, the Population Management office and Economic Development that there is a willingness to help industry. The team under Gary Salter is working hard and shown as much flexibility as possible but has exhausted all of the options within the PML. They have dealt individually with some of our members but as always, are constricted by what they can do by the current, existing legislation.
“The CGi has always maintained that the law was out of date as soon as it was introduced in 2017 and made several statements in the media to that effect. The current issues created by Brexit and Covid should also not be used to mask the inefficiencies of the present law and the case for action has been amply demonstrated by sectors across the Island so we now urge government to act.”
“We hope there is now no disagreement that the legislation isn’t working in the way intended,” said Mr Newman. “That means all of our efforts and those of government should be focussed on rectifying matters before it is too late. The CGi accepts some of the issues are beyond the Island’s control however existing population management law is not.”
The CGi say that they are willing to continue joint talks with P&R, Home Affairs, which has responsibility for the legislation, Economic Development and industry sector representatives.
Mr Newman added: “This isn’t a “blame game”. Instead, it is a heartfelt plea to work collaboratively with government agencies to remove the elements that are directly harming local businesses.
“We hope everyone involved now recognises see this as an island problem that needs out-of-the-silo creativity to resolve, which is why we are appealing to Deputy Prow to lead the review as quickly as possible.”