The Guernsey Chamber of Commerce has applauded the Committee for Home Affairs for moving to directly engage the business community in further work on the island’s population management strategy.
But has warned against allowing a lengthy consultation process to blur the need for a rapid and thorough response to the issue of making the right skills and people available, across all island industry sectors.
Newly-elected President, Martyn Dorey, said Chamber is keenly interested in seeing all major industry sectors represented on the Population Employment Advisory Panel and also urged urgent scrutiny of the impact policy changes are having on employers of seasonal workers.
“Guernsey has to get this regime right the first time or risk curtailing growth of businesses already here as well as deterring new ones from considering Guernsey because the island simply doesn’t have, or cannot attract, the right people for the job.”
“We urge a closer consideration of two key challenges: the broadening of the professional skills and experience Guernsey recognises with employment permits; and the support provided for the seasonal, and other short-term, worker groups,” he said.
There were at least an estimated 1500 essential seasonal workers on the island in March 2015, highlighting the economic importance of this group, particularly in the hospitality/tourism and retail sectors which would struggle to operate without the short-term working pool.
The Panel and engagement process is seen as a positive example of the new States seeking answers from those closest to the issues, rather than developing policy in a vacuum.
“This new political approach to community consultation, be it the business, welfare or social community, is a reassuring sign of change in the new States” said Mr Dorey.