People in Jersey on temporary work permits could soon be able to stay on the island for 12 months.
Currently, employees on seasonal permits can only remain in Jersey for nine months before having to leave for at least three months.
Workers will also have the opportunity to apply for extended permits, which will allow them to stay on the island for up to three years. They would not be able to bring their families to Jersey with them.
If workers stay in the island for three years, they would then be expected to leave Jersey for the same period of time.
Speaking to politicians in the States Assembly, Deputy Helen Miles confirmed her department is hoping to have the new permits in place for the upcoming summer season:
"My officers [and I] have been very carefully considering changes that might need to be made in light of the challenges being felt by employers and employees across some sectors.
"When our work permit policy was developed in the early 1980s, it was designed to 'keep people out' and make sure people did not come to Jersey, gain housing qualifications, stay too long and take jobs away from local residents.
"Clearly we are in a very different position now. It is important that we now strike the right balance between enabling appropriate and necessary migration into the island, but also ensuring the security of our borders."
Deputy Helen Miles addressing states members yesterday (7 February)
She added: "It's well acknowledged that employers do not feel that current work permit rules work well for them. The work permit policy is currently evolving so I do anticipate making some amendments to the policy for both the hospitality and agricultural sectors.
"Labour shortages across the hospitality sector have resulted in a review into our temporary hospitality work permit route and my intention is to introduce a new 12-month temporary hospitality work permit, that can be extended on a yearly basis, up to a maximum period of three years.
"At the end of that work permit period, the employee will be expected to leave the island for a period equal to that they have spent in Jersey under work permit conditions."
Currently, no exact timescales have been announced for when the changes to work permits will come into effect.
Deputy Miles hopes the new policy will encourage employers to invest in upskilling their staff to allow them to apply for longer-term 'skilled' permits within their sector, saying it would be "better for the employee, and better for the island."
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...