Fee changes – investing in training and controlling migration

Posted: 18/05/2017

Ministers are planning to increase fees under the Control of Housing and Work Law to invest more in migration controls and skills development to support businesses. 

The changes include new annual fees for businesses employing registered staff and employment agencies placing registered staff, and a rise in the fees payable by contractors visiting Jersey.
 
The measures will raise £600,000 per year, which will be used as follows: 
• £300,000 dedicated funding to support additional investment in skills and training
• £300,000 to fund migration controls, including initiatives to remove permissions from businesses, and to support compliance activities

Net migration in 2015 was 1,500, and is expected to remain at a similar level for 2016. Ministers say these measures will help support employment, while investing in the skills of the workforce. 

The full range of changes proposed are: 
• Increasing the maximum amount payable by visiting businesses in any one year from £1,500 to £3,500
• Uprating the cost of a registration card for registered and licensed people from £75 to £80 (cards for entitled and entitled to work people remain free)
• Increasing amount paid by new high-value residents for registration cards when they arrive, from £5,000 to £7,500
• Increasing the cost of employing a licensed employee from £175 to £225 per year
• A new charge of £500 for companies (not individuals) seeking permission to purchase land or property
• A new fee for employment agencies of £500 for every registered member of staff they are permitted
• A £50 fee payable each year by business for each permission they hold to employ a registered member of staff, excluding seasonal permissions

Eliot Lincoln 2016Chamber response

Jersey Chamber of Commerce has issued a response to the changes:

The proposed changes to the fees under the Control of Housing and Work Law are yet further tax increases for businesses operating in Jersey. These increases to existing fees and the creation of new fees will once again raise the cost of doing business in the island.

Whilst Chamber is encouraged by the proposal of funds being invested into Skills Jersey and a population office that can provide effective support for the business community, government cannot consistently expect commerce to keep absorbing the costs of their policy proposals. Especially not when the Chief Minister announced this week that his government is likely to “broadly balance” the books ahead of the schedule set out in the latest MTFP.

President of the Jersey Chamber of Commerce Eliot Lincoln (pictured) said: “There needs to be a sensible debate about population, a discussion that will help form policy across all government departments…

“Our members continually tell us they are facing an uphill struggle in finding new ways of absorbing the increasing cost of operating in Jersey. These latest fee increases will force some businesses, especially those in the building industry who are facing new land taxes under the proposed community infrastructure levy, and now an additional £500 land or property tax, to seriously consider whether trading in the island is viable.”

The Jersey Chamber of Commerce is urging government to consult with the business community on the proposed charges, ahead of implementing them. We would also suggest a review of their business tariff timetable, with the aim of producing a transparent set of fee increases, which businesses can plan for, as opposed to a constant drip feeding of fees and additional taxes throughout the year, which government appear to believe commerce can absorb.


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