Cross-border remote working ‘more likely’

JERSEY firms will be more likely to hire people who live outside the Island post-Covid-19 following the success of remote working during the pandemic, a poll of business leaders has found.

Picture: DAVID FERGUSON (30433462)
Picture: DAVID FERGUSON (30433462)

In a survey of about 150 companies and employment professionals carried out by law firm Walkers, 60% of respondents said that they would now consider recruiting someone who lived in another jurisdiction, following the experiences of the last year.

It also found that more than half of firms will offer flexible working post-Covid-19, while around 80% reported that business travel would reduce due to meetings increasingly taking place virtually.

A statement released by Walkers says that ‘remote working is here to stay and more work across borders is likely’.

Daniel Read, senior counsel in Walkers Jersey ‘s employment law team, said: ‘We are getting close to the point at which there will be a moment for employers of all kinds to pause and reflect on the experience of the last 12 months, to consider what worked well and what worked less well, and to update the way that they undertake planning, communication and their working practices.’

Sarah Ash, a senior counsel at Walkers Guernsey, said the findings indicated that Covid-19 would have an ‘ongoing impact on the workplace, even after restrictions had been lifted’.

‘The conversations that we have been having with clients and the nature of the matters that we are being instructed on all suggest that workplaces will not entirely return to how they used to operate,’ she said.

‘The results of the polls that we ran in our conference would support that.’

Ben Le Feuvre, senior recruitment manager at Excel Recruitment, said that a ‘sensible balance’ of allowing more people to carry out Jersey jobs from elsewhere could help address labour shortages, while helping to manage population pressures.

Ben Le Feuvre (30430401)

‘Jersey’s finance sector continues to enjoy impressive growth, which provides a vital input into the Island’s economy, but demand for local and qualified labour is outstripping supply,’ he said.

‘This puts pressure to bring in further qualified people to help sustain the economic growth and that adds further pressure to the population issue. Possibly, one solution, following the pandemic and the changes in working practices we’ve witnessed in the past 12 months, is to consider some flexibility enabling qualified individuals to do the work remotely off-Island. As a proud local Jerseyman and someone involved in local recruitment, I certainly would not want to risk the health of the local employment market but is there a sensible balance to be struck?’

A government spokeswoman said that someone working for a Jersey firm from outside the Island would not require a work licence.

‘Employment permits are issued for people who are living and working in Jersey,’ she said.

‘This means that someone working for a Jersey company who isn’t ordinarily resident in Jersey wouldn’t need permission to work for that company.’

She added that people who worked for Jersey firms by default would pay tax in the Island, subject to agreements with various jurisdictions.

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