Migration policy: Call for a delay to debate

A SCRUTINY head has requested that the debate on the Island’s proposed new migration control policy is ‘briefly’ delayed for four months while a new panel is established to review it properly.

Senator Kristina Moore, chairperson of the Scrutiny Liaison Committee, has written to the Chief Minister making the suggestion, claiming that Scrutiny teams are already too busy reviewing areas such as the Government Plan, future hospital, Covid-19 and Brexit.

The Senator’s letter says that the policy will have ‘wide-ranging’ impacts and therefore requires a suitable review.

The migration control policy was published on 20 October and is currently due for debate on 1 December.

It outlines the Island’s future tighter immigration arrangements for access to housing and work, echoing similar moves in the UK, with freedom of movement with the EU set to come to an end on 31 December as part of the Brexit process.

Under the proposals, the two main routes to gain employment in Jersey would be as a ‘skilled worker’, with certain qualifications and experience, or through a nine-month temporary work permit.

Senator Moore’s letter says that she feels that the policy needs an in-depth review by a special committee comprising members from across the Scrutiny panels.

‘Although pleased to see progress in the development of migration control, it was agreed to consult with the full Scrutiny membership about the approach to any potential scrutiny work on the proposed changes, given their wide-ranging impact,’ it says.

‘It has been agreed that the Scrutiny Liaison Committee should establish a review panel to scrutinise and report upon policy as it is put forward by the government in this area, beginning with P137 [the Migration Policy Board proposition].

‘The review panel will consist of members from across all five standing Scrutiny panels.’

It adds: ‘In view of significant recent and ongoing workload pressures across the Scrutiny function (not least the Government Plan, Our Hospital, Covid response and Brexit, to name just a handful of matters), the review panel will not be in a position to fully conduct the necessary work on the proposition until January 2021.

‘The Scrutiny Liaison Committee therefore requests that the debate of the migration control policy be briefly deferred until the meeting of the States on 2 March 2021 to enable the review panel to complete a short period of focused but important work at this stage and contribute an appropriately considered report to the States.’

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