Scrutiny publishes Work Permit Holder Welfare Review Report
12th October 2023
The Work Permit Holder Welfare Review Panel ('the Panel') has now published its report examining whether the Jersey Work Permit Policy ('the policy') is effective in upholding the welfare of work permit holders in Jersey and protecting them from 'modern slavery'.
The Panel built a picture of the impact of the policy, by reviewing the background and ministerial responsibility for the policy, how readable and accessible the policy is to its primary users and official data about the number and demographics of work permit holders in Jersey.
Through evidence received during its review, the Panel also considered the information available for work permit holders, as well as employment, conditions, and support, the risk of modern slavery and exploitation, accommodation, and healthcare. The Panel produced 29 key findings and 25 recommendations to Government, and a summary of the key areas are as follows:
Living and working in Jersey: information for work permit holders:
The Panel highlighted the information provided to work permit holders as a key issue throughout its report, and recommends consulting with key stakeholders, improving guidance and the level of information provided and establishing a centralised portal of information for work permit holders to access prior to undertaking employment in Jersey.
Employment, Conditions and Support for work permit holders:
The Panel found that more could be done to provide clarity to both employers and employees on what was expected of them and that an enhanced compliance regime would help to ensure that the welfare of employees was not reliant upon trust and goodwill. The Panel recommends that a physical support resource for work permit holders be established.
Modern Day Slavery and Exploitation:
The Panel found that the policy lacked specificity regarding the protections for work permit holders from modern slavery and exploitation and recommends that the Minister for Home Affairs consult on the introduction of Modern Slavery legislation for Jersey. The Panel also recommended the introduction of an employer licensing scheme, similar to that operated by the UK Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority.
The Panel would like to see more centralised guidance provided in relation to the provision of accommodation. The policy does not seek to establish a minimum standard for accommodation but rather outlines the expectation of the Minister that it supports the health and wellbeing of the work permit holders.
The Panel received evidence during its review that indicated some concern amongst work permit holders and stakeholders about access to healthcare in Jersey. The Panel found that most work permit holders were not aware of how the healthcare system operates in Jersey prior to their arrival, and that information about the operation of the healthcare system in Jersey, or links to this information, was not available in the policy. The Panel also recommends that all work permit holders are covered by a suitable travel insurance policy prior to their arrival on-Island.
Chair of the Panel, Deputy Beatriz Porée, commented: 'As a Panel we would first like to highlight that feedback from work permit holders about living and working in Jersey is generally very positive. We believe that this reflects the many good employers on-Island. However, the Panel also believes that there is room to improve the protections in place for work permit holders, and in particular address the gaps in the communication of key information and guidance about living, working and accessing support in Jersey. We hope the Government takes our recommendations into account and starts the necessary work to make improvements to the policy where needed.'
Find the full report here.
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