Planning for our future Population
Jersey needs a thriving, long term economy and will need workers to support the businesses that contribute to our diverse and flourishing economy. In making that statement we also need to be smarter with how we utilise our available workforce to limit the need for migrant workers and their families.
Jersey needs to be smarter because with a population in excess of 100,000 and unsustainable migration levels of circa 1000+ a year over recent years, we accept there is no easy fix to the problems we face as an island community. We do though need to understand and measure the gaps that exist in our local workforce if we are to create innovative ways to meet the needs of businesses.
Change is inevitable and if we look back in history, Jersey has been proactive in adapting to new industries and ideas. We must continue to embrace change and seek out opportunities to ensure a successful economy and social vitality. At the same time, we must be mindful of how we recruit and retain our workforce whilst protecting our island from the risks associated with large increases in population.
As we fully develop our population policy, we will adopt ways to reduce Jersey’s dependency on migration and wherever possible self-fulfill from our existing labour resources, with the aim of mitigating the pressures on our infrastructure such as housing, schools and the hospital.
To be clear, this will cover both private and public sectors.
Our developing Population and Migration Policy?
The Progress Party will introduce a multifaceted policy to tackle Jersey’s workforce and population challenges:
The Progress Party will introduce a proactive and targeted approach to better regulate migration into Jersey. We will be responsive to the strategic needs of the island.
Parallel with this we will:
advance and support internal economic development to provide diversified job opportunities to Jersey’s younger people;
further develop education and training for islanders, irrespective of age, to provide them with the skills (or new skills) required by Jersey businesses to assist them to achieve their career aspirations or skills development within Jersey;
nurture a conducive environment to keep or draw more people back into the labour market to safeguard our future socio-economic development being impeded by insufficient workforce within Jersey.
How will we achieve this Population and Migration Policy?
The Progress Party will introduce a strategic analysis element into the system. This will be designed to understand the needs of our local economy, drive economic development, and provide the necessary workforce.
We will target necessary migration to the areas that have a proven requirement. We will introduce, to the Control of Housing and Work (Jersey) Law 2012, a points-based system to reflect the economic need and industry-specific requirements but with the flexibility to react to innovation. It will be objective, transparent and quick to adapt, where required. It will cover the full spectrum of persons seeking to migrate to Jersey for whatever reason.
Through government incentivisation, employers both private and public will be encouraged to ‘train local’ i.e. to have succession planning policies and not just rely on bringing in employees from overseas. We will work and develop a strategy with Jersey’s higher and further education providers to further improve access to education and training.
Businesses who are underutilising the opportunities within the grey, part-time and term time workforce will be encouraged through government-sponsored incentives to recruit from this valuable potential resource whilst also incentivising these workers to consider where they can contribute further to the islands economy. We will work to develop and maintain a wide range of skill sets without having to resort to importing such skill sets.
All in all, The Progress Party will drive strategic thinking to develop a dynamic and proactive workforce suitable for our island and its economy in the 21st century.