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Your work permit questions answered

Posted Wed 18th February 2009 at 11:52

Chief executive David Jeremiah has come up with a list of questions and answers on employment permits in response to numerous questions he has received from islanders.

What is the main purpose of the law and policy relating to employment permits?

To ensure so far as possible that those with the right to work in Alderney are able to do so.

Are there any other purposes?

Yes, including that people of bad character (ordinarily, those with relevant criminal convictions) are not able to take employment here.

If it is "local jobs for local people", who is a "local"?

Obviously, "local" is not a word used in law or policy but, in this context, it is convenient shorthand for a person who is able to take employment without the need to apply for a permit to cover that employment.

Who has that right?

A person who has such right by law (such as a person born here or who was born to a person who was ordinarily resident here at the time) or who has acquired that right by being granted an indefinite permit, which is unrestricted both as to time and as to the employment that may be taken by its holder.

Who may be granted an indefinite permit?

Previously, this was restricted to those who had worked here continuously (and lawfully) for four years. This caused difficulties where there were breaks in the applicant?s employment record or, for example, for school leavers largely educated here. A person who has been ordinarily resident here for five years immediately preceding his/her application, regardless of his/her employment record, may now be granted an indefinite permit.

Can a person without the right to work here be granted a permit to go job hunting?

No. A permit can only be granted to cover the employment specified in it.

What is taken into account when considering whether or not to grant a permit?

Account must, as a matter of law, be taken of the availability of employment in the island, the number of persons in the island who are unemployed, and the qualifications, experience and character of the person applying for the permit, but account may also be taken of other factors.

The application form requires a prospective employer to state when and where the job was advertised. Why?

To ensure that those with the right to work here are aware of the opportunity.

Are there any requirements as to where it must be advertised?

It is implicit in the requirement to advertise the opportunity that it is done in such a way as to ensure that those with the right to work here are likely to become aware of it. It is not sufficient to state "word of mouth", "back window of van", etc.

It has been suggested that there is a new requirement of placing the advertisement on the notice board at Island Hall.

Where local advertising has clearly been inadequate employers have been asked to re-advertise. There is nothing new about this. Advertising on the notice board at Island Hall carries with it three advantages: those registering for benefits have to pass it in order to do so, those administering benefits can draw their attention to it and those processing employment permit applications can be satisfied as to what has been advertised. In view of the recent high level of inadequate advertising (and the significant increase in unemployment in the island) advertising there should now be regarded as a requirement.

Provided the opportunity has been advertised will an employment permit be granted?

Not as of right. An employer is not required to offer employment to an unsuitable person but if there is a suitable applicant with the right to work here it is expected that he/she will take precedence over a "better" candidate requiring an employment permit.

Who can judge this?

It is expected that employers will act in good faith but where they have clearly not done so or have not demonstrated a recruitment process ensuring so far as possible that jobs go to those with the right to work here permits will be refused.

As far as being granted an employment permit is concerned, have the goal posts been moved in recent weeks?

No, the circumstances have changed, not the law or the policy. Alderney is not immune from the global economic downturn and we are not in a position to give employment opportunities to those without the right to work here unless there is no person with that right able and willing to take such employment.

Does this include not renewing permits?

With the number of persons who hold permits exceeding those seeking work (including those seeking better employment) most renewals are likely to be granted. But permits are not renewed as of right. Where, for example, the holder is not resident in Alderney (some permits are granted for "occasional visits" or for temporary employment) or is resident but clearly has no intention of settling here, the renewal of a permit is less likely.

Does an intention to settle here, of itself, mean that a permit will be granted/renewed?

No, but renewal is more likely than grant of a new permit. Anybody moving to Alderney must (as must anybody moving to Guernsey, Jersey or anywhere else) take account of local rules and restrictions in making their decision.

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