Calls for seasonal farm workers to get better access to healthcare in Jersey

  • Video report by ITV Channel's Otis Holmes

There are calls for seasonal farm workers in Jersey to get better access to healthcare.

Currently, despite having social security payments deducted from their wages, temporary workers are unable to get free healthcare for the first six months of their nine month permits.

This is the case even if they have previously worked in Jersey, a point which has been branded "immoral" and "grossly unfair" by the Jersey Royal Company.

Business Unit Director Mike Renouard said: "It's not just an agricultural issue, it's for all migrant workers, so since Brexit our staff are only allowed to come in on work permits that are a maximum of nine months long. Our staff pay social security, but they are not covered for the first six months.

"We feel that is grossly unfair as they are not getting the benefits they are paying for. They get emergency cover, but any further treatments are not covered.

"Firstly, they should be covered from day one, or the government should reduce the social security payments they are being asked to pay."

Peter Le Maistre, from the Jersey Farmers' Union, added: "Apart from accident and emergency, there is no other cover for those first six months. These people are starting to come back for the third time and, every time they go away, they lose their eligibility for sickness cover, so it's a real problem."

A spokesperson for the Government of Jersey said: "Anyone who attends the Emergency Department, irrespective of their length of time in the island is entitled to emergency treatment.

"If a person requires further treatment and they have not been working in the island for six months or they are not licensed to work, then they will be charged in accordance with the residents and non residents charging policy for that treatment."