Government’s ‘disgraceful’ migrant question criticised

A POST on the government’s social media accounts asking Islanders 'what steps they would be willing to take to help reduce the number of migrant workers needed' has been branded offensive to immigrants and insensitive to the plight of the hospitality association by a top restaurateur.

Mr Jordan said that members of his workforce had been offended by the message
Mr Jordan said that members of his workforce had been offended by the message

Mark Jordan, who has run Mark Jordan at the Beach for ten years, has called for an official apology in relation to the posts, which is part of the government’s ‘population conversation’.

Mr Jordan said that members of his workforce had been offended by the message and that it was ‘too right’ that the government should apologise for it.

‘It is just disgraceful that anyone came up with a post like that,’ he said.

‘It’s basically saying how can we get rid of immigrant staff in the Island – and they’re the backbone of the economy. Jersey is Jersey, but it’s the immigrants who are the ones doing all the jobs that locals would not do themselves – dishwashers, potato pickers, haulage.

‘I have got people from Romania, Hungary, Poland working for me who saw that post and were really upset to see the Government of Jersey doing something like that.

‘How many Jersey people would do the jobs that they do? Really, I’m an immigrant myself too. I’ve only been here 20 years. That post was well out of order. I really am shocked.’

Mr Jordan added that he found the word ‘migrant’ itself offensive and had found the government’s post particularly ill-judged at a time when the hospitality sector was facing severe staff shortages.

‘They should not be labelled as “migrants” – they are able-bodied workers who have come here to help the Island’s economy,’ he said.

‘It’s especially bad with everything else that the industry is facing at the moment and with Brexit, the nine-month permits and so on.’

Lee Madden, founder and managing director of GR8 employment solutions, said that the Island needed immigration at this time to fill job vacancies, particularly in hospitality.

‘People can make what they want to of the post but we do have a need for migrant workers at the moment,’ he said.

‘We need to work with the system that we have in place and we do have the nine-month, one-year and four-year permits.’

He added that his firm had built worldwide connections and could bring in hundreds of staff, if needs be.

‘Our priority is to recruit local people first but we have relationships and recruit from places like Kenya, Asia, northern Europe and Barbados,’ he said.

‘We could probably bring 300 to 500 workers to come over here and work in the hospitality industry.’

The government was approached to address the criticism but no response had been received at the time of publication.

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