Views sought on population

FOCUS groups, online panel sessions and a public consultation will all form part of a government discussion on Jersey’s future population policy with Islanders to be asked to give their views.

Picture: ROB CURRIE. (31380206)
Picture: ROB CURRIE. (31380206)

A new policy is due to be published before the end of the year with the current population believed to be around 107,000.

Earlier this year, the 2021 Census was carried out but the results will be too late for consideration as part of the ministerial policy plans.

A proposal passed overwhelmingly by the States in March called for greater control over immigration and a swathe of policy changes, including nine-month, four-year and ten-year work permits, digital IDs and the need to declare any unspent criminal convictions.

Chief Minister John Le Fondré said: ‘People in Jersey have been discussing the size of the Island population for many years, and plans have been put forward by successive governments to keep the population at a certain level. Despite these plans, the Island has seen a steady growth in population in recent years; today we have over 100,000 inhabitants, and continued economic growth has meant people coming from outside of Jersey to work here.

‘This government has agreed to develop a population policy that will consider how best to balance the overall needs of Jersey’s economy, environment and community. The policy will also need to plan for an Island community that is getting older and the pressures that are associated with that change.

‘I hope many Islanders will take part in the population discussion, submit their views, and help us ensure we are taking the right actions to effectively manage our population to benefit successive generations.’

Assistant Chief Minister Rowland Huelin, who has political responsibility for population, added that it was ‘extremely important’ to gauge Islanders’ views and potential ideas to ensure the ‘policy we develop is the right one for us’.

He added: ‘The population policy will need to consider all aspects of Island life, with the objective being to maintain, enhance and – where possible – improve the quality of life for all Islanders. A successful policy will look to balance the competing pressures presented by the economy, the environment, and the community, while maintaining the flexibility to adapt and react to future circumstances.

‘We appreciate that there are strongly held views on this topic – there is no single answer to this problem and there are no easy solutions.’

An online consultation is to launch today on gov.je with focus group sessions, industry engagement and a live-streamed panel session on the government’s social media channels also due to take place. Written submissions can also be emailed to population@gov.je.

In March, the States Assembly agreed that a common policy on population should be developed by the Council of Ministers, which will be reviewed and updated annually.

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