Hundreds of migrant workers have left Jersey due to Covid
HUNDREDS of migrant workers have returned to their home countries as a result of the disruption and far-reaching health and economic impacts of Covid-19, it has emerged.
One Scrutiny panel member has told the JEP that up to 700 Polish nationals had already left the Island.
Consequently, it has been argued that there are now many opportunities for Islanders who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic to fill now-vacant roles in the hospitality sector.
It has previously been reported that farming and hospitality were impacted by scores of Polish and Romanian seasonal workers leaving the Island to return home just as the crisis hit.
Chief executive of the Jersey Hospitality Association Simon Soar said that staffing had been an issue.
With visitors expected to return to the Island following next month’s planned reopening of the borders, demand for workers is likely to increase across the industry.
Mr Soar said: ‘There is going to be an issue going forward and we need to make sure we have enough staff for the demand, whatever that may be.
‘We are aware of this issue and that it has become a concern, and we will continue to monitor the situation.
‘We will look to bring back staff who have been in the industry previously, and there will be those who have been waiting for opportunities.
‘And of course there a lot of Islanders are out of work, so that will be something we can use.’
Speaking about the population policy, Scrutiny panel member Senator Kristina Moore said: ‘The situation on population is fluctuating and we need up-to-date information. For example, the Polish consul has informed me around 700 people have gone back to Poland due to the virus.’
In addition, around seven members of the Portuguese community in the Island left before the virus hit, with many opting to remain after receiving advice, according to Consul Manual Rodrigues Da Silva.
Meanwhile, 16 members of the Romanian community left during the outbreak, while a flight on Friday took a further 23 more back to their native country, said Romanian Consul Andreea Maria Ghisoi.
She added that while there was concern among the community about the future, they had come together and helped to provide food and raise money for good causes during lockdown.
The farming industry has also been impacted slightly, as a large majority of the sector’s seasonal workers are foreign workers.
William Church, of The Jersey Royal Company, said a few of their workers had left and Peter Le Maistre, president of the Jersey Farming Union, agreed that it had been an issue, with recent weeks having been tough as the hospitality industry had started operating again.
He added: ‘There has been a problem with people going back.
‘People come over in January and then we have more in March so that is where the real problem came.
‘Then we had a few workers from hospitality to fill gaps, but now that hospitality is back up and running more we have found it tough over recent weeks.
‘But our season finishes soon, sort of mid July, so we can get through until then.’
And Charles Gallichan, of Woodside Farms, admitted it had not been an issue so far, but it soon could be.
He added: ‘We haven’t seen an issue yet. People have stayed or been stuck. But with the borders opening, there could be a few going home so that may create a problem.’
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