Kenyans show enthusiasm for seasonal work in Jersey

- Advertisement -

The Jersey Farmers Union, which is drawing up a report on a shortage of seasonal labour to present to the States, contacted David Lawson of Cambridge International College in St Brelade for his advice.

He specialises in offering business diploma courses and degree programmes to more than 100 countries around the world, including Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.

In December he emailed around 300 students in Kenya, asking if they were interested in combining studies with seasonal jobs in the Island.

‘We have had hundreds of replies from people of all sorts of professions from infrastructure managers to people working with non-government organisations, farmers and those who work in accountancy,’ he said.

‘This is because the income they can generate from working in the agricultural industry here is far higher than they are earning in Kenya, even in professional jobs.’

Kenyans have worked in the Island in the past. In the early 2000s they filled positions in the hospitality industry when that sector faced a labour shortage.

Earlier this month, Jersey’s farmers spoke out over fears for the industry following Brexit, as the majority of the more than 1,000 seasonal workers needed in the agricultural industry every year come from Poland.

With Brexit already affecting the value of the pound against the euro, and farmers in Europe offering higher wages as they are also facing labour shortages, fewer Poles are returning this year.

The vice-president of the JFU, Charlie Gallichan, told the JEP that unless new sources of migrant labour were found, farmers would struggle to survive.

‘We have got a problem, but this is an industry-wide problem in the UK and Europe rather than a Jersey problem and we have got to try to find a solution in the long term,’ he said.

Mr Gallichan is producing the report with JFU president Peter Le Maistre to present to Home Affairs Minister Kristina Moore. Mr Le Maistre said they had met Customs staff, as people from African countries would not be allowed to work here without permits.

‘We are in a difficult position at the moment as no one knows what the result of the Brexit negotiations is going to be and whether EU labour supplies will dry up,’ Mr Le Maistre said. ‘We have to be in a position to be able to find seasonal workers and that is what we want to speak about to the States so they understand our position.

‘All we are asking is that the government is ready to do something if we find ourselves with a serious labour shortage which could require a major change to [immigration] policy.’

A States spokesman said: ‘The Jersey Customs and Immigration Service met with farming industry representatives at the end of December to discuss issues around the supply of labour and any future implications this may have in terms of sourcing workers from outside the European Union. The industry indicated that they had sourced a temporary solution to the problem but were considering submitting a business case that may require a change in policy regarding work permits for non-EU nationals.’

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.