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Do you really understand Jersey’s work permits?


The rules around Jersey’s work permits are not often understood, particularly with the impact of Brexit.

Following yesterdays announcement that Jersey is further relaxing its Covid travel rules for those travelling to the island, our hospitality industry edges closer to ‘normality’ as their season begins.

The big change for all employers to be aware of this year, post Brexit, is that all EU nationals (excluding Irish nationals), now require immigration permission to work in Jersey.

Work permits are a requirement under the Immigration (Work Permits) (Jersey) Rules 1995 and as such employers are required to apply for a work permit for employees who require immigration permission to enter or remain in Jersey for work.

As of the 31 December 2020 at 11:00pm (Brexit), freedom of movement between the United Kingdom and the European Union ended and as such free movement to Jersey also ceased. As a result, all non-British or Irish nationals, also require immigration permission to visit, work, study or settle in Jersey.

What is a work permit?

A work permit is a type of permission that an employer must obtain for any prospective employee who is coming to Jersey from outside the UK, the Crown Dependencies (Bailiwick of Jersey, Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Isle of Man) and Ireland (the Common Travel Area or “CTA”).

The Government of Jersey has produced a much more comprehensive Work Permit Policy which fully explains its policy with regards to the issuing of work permits.

Who needs one?

Nationals of countries outside the UK, Crown dependencies and Ireland employers are required to obtain a work permit. Following Brexit, this requirement was extended to include EU nationals outside the CTA.

Work permits should be obtained before an employee arrives in Jersey to work. Employers should note that the processing time to issue a permit is approximately three weeks.

Once a work permit has been granted, the employee (not the employer) must apply for a Visa separate from the work permit. Therefore, eemployers should allow enough time for a work permit to be issued and for a prospective employee to apply for a visa before an employee travels to Jersey.

How much do they cost?

The costs of a work permit vary depending on the length of the employee’s stay. At the date of this article, the prices are set out below, but employers should check the following link to the Jersey Government Immigration and nationality fees page for the latest fee costs: Immigration & Nationally Fees

  • Less than 1 month: £58
  • 1 month and up to 6 months: £85
  • More than 6 months and up to 9 months: £115
  • More than 9 months and up to 12 months: £175
  • More than 1 year and up to 2 years: £290
  • More than 2 years and up to 3 years: £350
  • More than 3 years and up to 5 years (applies to medical doctors only): ​£580

Not all work permits are made equal

There are various categories of work permits that relate to different types of roles and industries including:

1.  A skilled migrant permit:

This is arguably the most flexible permit; however, it also has the most stringent requirements which must be met for it to be issued. One such requirement is that the employee must evidence that they have sufficient English language skills.

Skilled migrant permits are issued for up to an initial period of 3 years following which a further work permit may be granted. Work Permits may be granted to Medical Doctors for up to 5 years in the first instance.

2.  An intra-company transfer permit:

Applications may be considered for employees from the same organisation outside of Jersey who are being temporarily transferred (seconded) provided certain requirements are met including: the employee having worked for the same company, outside of Jersey, for at least 12 months directly prior to their transfer and the employee resuming employment for the same company, outside of Jersey, at the end of the transfer period.

The maximum period for which this work permit can be applied is 3 years, including any extensions. Intra-company transferees are exempt from the English language skills requirement and cannot return to Jersey (in this capacity) unless there has been an absence of at least 12 months.

3.  Temporary employment permits for specific industries:

Those specific industries include:

  • Agriculture
  • Hospitality
  • Fishing; and
  • Construction.

There are two routes that employers can take when applying for a temporary permit. One being a 9-month permit for agriculture, hospitality, and fishing. The other being a 1-year renewable permit for construction workers, which can be extended every year up to a maximum of 4 years.

Workers applying for these permits are not required to pass an English language test. Temporary workers may switch to a skilled work permit employment if they meet all the necessary criteria.

4.  Specialist permits:

Applications may also be considered for the following work permits: contractual service suppliers, UK and overseas entertainers (for up to 1 month) and independent professionals (for up to two years). Independent professional must hold a university degree or technical qualification and have six years professional experience in the sector in which they are supplying services.

Employers are expected to understand the difference between each permit and should seek advice where necessary on which permit is the most suitable for a given employee.

In general, a work permit application will not be approved to employ a person with an adverse immigration history, a criminal conviction (for example, drugs/fraud), or, their previous employment and conduct in the Island was unsatisfactory.

How to apply for a work permit

Work permits can be applied for by completing an online form at work permits: make an application here.

Written by Max Cornish, from the Personal Law & Employment Law team at Viberts Law.

To discuss Jersey’s work permits or other aspect of immigration or employment law please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Viberts’ Corporate and Employment team.



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