Jersey: I Am Not A... Letter?

The Control of Housing and Work (Jersey) Law 2012 will shortly be brought into force and this will mean a change in the rules on residency, with the aim of making them clearer and fairer.

We will no longer be designated a letter of the alphabet, no longer will we proudly declare we are 1(1)(a), (j) even (k), no one will hang their heads in shame at being non-qualified : from now on we will all fall into one of four categories: "entitled", "licensed", "entitled for work only" or "registered". Every one of us living in Jersey will fall into one of the categories.

Within three months of arriving in the Island a person must register with the Population Office and hold a registration card. Anyone who is already living in Jersey will have their registration card triggered when they move job or property.

Until that person has been continuously resident for 5 years they are classed as "registered". There are restrictions on where they can work as employers will be limited to the number of "registered" employees they can employ. A person holding registered status is the equivalent to non-qualified status under the current Regulation of Undertakings Law with the same restrictions on access to employment. In addition, registered persons (like 'entitled for work only' persons, which are discussed below) will only be able to occupy residential accommodation which is classed as "registered".

Certain categories of resident, including those who have met the ten year continuous residency requirement, are simply classed as "entitled". An "entitled" person may purchase or lease a residential property, they may start up a business or work for any employer without restriction.

However depending upon how a person becomes "entitled" they can either be permanently entitled or in certain circumstances they can lose their entitled status.

There is no change for a Jersey born resident who has completed ten years' aggregate residency as they will be permanently entitled and cannot have their entitled status taken away however long they leave Jersey for.

However the new law introduces protection for a non-Jersey born resident who arrived in Jersey before their 16th birthday and has completed a continuous period of ten years' residency, as they will become permanently entitled. Similarly a person will be permanently entitled if they arrived in Jersey before their 20th birthday and complete 10 years' aggregate residency before their 40th birthday.

Anyone who has had their residential status granted as a result of a 'hardship application' will be classed as "entitled" but will remain subject to whatever conditions the Chief Minister imposed when granting them permission.

As was the case under the 1970 Housing Regulations, a non-Jersey born person, who arrived in the Island as an adult and completed ten years' residency will be classed as entitled. However the circumstances under which they can lose their residential status have changed. Now an aggregate of absences totalling more than five years will lead to the loss of "entitled" status.

Before an absence counts towards the five year period it must be longer than three months and so normal holidays will not cause you to lose your "entitled" status. Once a person has thirty years' residency they will become permanently entitled regardless of future periods of absence from Jersey : they have shown a significant level of commitment and association with the Island and are rewarded with their entitled status being made permanent.

A "licensed" employee is the equivalent of a J category employee. They must be essentially employed and their employer must hold the appropriate business licence confirming they may employ them; employers will now be given licensed permissions based on particular descriptions of permitted work, rather than by reference to named individuals, allowing the employer to allocate the permissions as it thinks fit. Subject to any restrictions imposed by the Minister, a licensed employee may lease property or may buy a property in their own name and live in it whilst they continue to be employed by that employer. The Housing Minister has the power to put any other conditions onto a licensed person's occupation of any property. If a person loses their employment or is no longer licensed then they must vacate the property and if they own it they must sell it. Once a licensed person has lived here for ten years they will gain entitled status and can continue to reside in their existing property. A person is "entitled to work only" if they have been continuously resident in Jersey for a period of 5 years. They can also be classed as entitled to work if they are married to someone who is classed as entitled, licensed, or is entitled to work. Being "entitled to work only", as the name suggests, means they are entitled to work but it does not grant the ability to purchase property.

However, like registered persons, they may rent property which is classed as registered.

It is hoped the new Law will simplify the way residents are entitled to live and work in Jersey. With the removal of the alphabetical classification it will no longer be obvious how a person has qualified to live here.

Originally published in Homelife and Places, March 2013

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.

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