Guernsey has the same immigration laws as the UK but as yet it does not operate systems of work permits in respect of citizens of the EU. Population matters have so far been controlled through housing laws. Guernsey distinguishes between "essential workers", those imported to provide a skill which is not available locally or for which there is an inadequate number of local practitioners, and other immigrants. The recruitment of staff from outside the Island is controlled by the Housing Control of Occupation (Guernsey) Laws 1982 to 1990. Non-EU nationals are required to complete immigration formalities and to obtain a work permit.

The law provides for control over the occupation of dwellings by the States Housing Authority. The control is exercised by dividing the housing market into two sections, the "local market" and the "open market". Dwellings in the open market are available to anyone. Local market houses are available only to those with residential qualifications and licence holders. Prices for open market homes start at around £270,000. The average sales price is approximately £420,000. There are approximately 1,600-1,700 properties listed on the open market register. Prices for local market dwellings (approximately 18,000 properties) start at £80,000.

Only individuals who were ordinarily resident in Guernsey at some time between 1 January 1938 and 30 June 1957 and resident on 31 July 1968 have residential qualifications. The children and spouse of such people may also have residential qualifications provided, in the case of children, that they have spent at least ten years living in Guernsey. The definition also covers licence holders and their children who have lived in the Island continuously for fifteen years. Dependent children of open market residents qualify as locally resident after living in the Island for twenty years. Licence holders are those whose employment or skills are essential to the community such as senior banking staff. Often this will not include the executive seconded to head up a Guernsey operation who may be required to occupy an open market property.

The housing laws are complicated and the information set out above is provided only as a broad indication of the requirements. In all cases it is advisable to seek advice from the Housing Authority or from a professional adviser.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.