Immigration (Right to Enter Guernsey)
Any person living and working in Guernsey must have the right to enter.
The following categories of people have the right to enter without a visa or permit under Guernsey's Immigration Rules:
- British citizens;
- Commonwealth citizens with the right of abode in the UK;
- EU, Swiss and EEA citizens (this is subject to change after Brexit);
- Other nationals with settled status (indefinite leave to remain);
- Participants in the Youth Mobility scheme.
Any person falling outside the above list will generally require a visa or work permit issued by the Guernsey Border Agency (Immigration & Nationality Division) to enter Guernsey. Types of visas and permits include:
- a key worker work permit for an employee in full time employment (minimum 35 hours per week);
- a short permit for an intra-company transfer for the purpose of progressing a particular project or for career progression;
- a short permit for an intra-company transfer for training purposes;
- a short term permit for the purpose of progressing a particular project or assignment where the worker would not fall to be treated as an intra-company transferee;
- an entrepreneur's visa;
- an investor's visa.
For further information on work permits see our Advisories on Immigration - Work Permit Employment in Guernsey **BQ to add link**.
Population Management (Right to Live and Work in Guernsey)
In addition to having valid entry clearance under the Immigration Rules, a person who wishes to live and work in Guernsey must hold a certificate or permit issued under the Population Management Law confirming their right to live and work in the Island.
A Certificate is issued based on personal circumstances (often a strong local or family connection with Guernsey). A Permit is issued based either on personal circumstances or on employment status. This advisory deals with employment permits only.
Types of Employment Permit
Employment permits are issued to address manpower shortages and / or skills shortages in Guernsey or internationally.
There are three types of employment permit: short term employment permit (STEP); medium term employment permit (MTEP); and long term employment permit (LTEP). Characteristics of each type of permit are:
- STEP: issued to fill manpower shortages in Guernsey; valid for up to one year; renewable annually (provided the post cannot be filled locally) up to five years (but note the 'STEP 9/3', below); prohibition on return after 5 years; tied to a named role for a named employer; the post must be full time (minimum 35 hours per week); restricted in terms of accommodation options (the employee can live in local or open market housing (see below), but the accommodation must be shared with unrelated adults; no ability to accommodate dependents. A variation to the normal STEP is the 'STEP 9/3' which allows an employee to live in Guernsey for up to 9 months before taking a break away from the Island of at least 3 months. The employer must apply for a new permit each time the employee returns. There is no limit on the number of STEP 9/3 permits that may be issued to an individual.
- MTEP: issued to address skill shortages in Guernsey, but where skills are in the process of being developed locally, or where there is no shortage of those skills outside Guernsey; valid for up to five years; on expiry the holder must take a recognised break in residence equivalent to the time spent living under permit in Guernsey; tied to a named role for a named employer; the post must be full time (minimum 35 hours per week); unrestricted right to occupy local market or open market accommodation and to house immediate family members.
- LTEP: issued where there is a skills shortage in Guernsey and where those skills are in short supply internationally; tied to a named employer and a named role; the post must be full time (minimum 35 hours per week); valid for a maximum of eight years after which the post holder becomes an Established Resident, no longer tied to a named role or a named employer; unrestricted right to occupy local market or open market accommodation and to house immediate family members.
Click on the following link to see which family members MTEP and LTEP holders can accommodate: https://www.gov.gg/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=105186&p=0
Applying for Employment Permits - PMO Employer Portal
Applications for employment permits are made online by the employer through the Employer Portal administered by the States of Guernsey Population and Management Office (PMO). Different application procedures apply depending on whether the employer is Guernsey based or non-Guernsey based.
Guernsey Based Employers
If you are a Guernsey based employer wishing to apply for an employment permit and are not already a registered employer on the Employer Portal, you will need to create an account (noting that the "employer" for these purposes is the person or entity responsible for paying the employee).
You will be asked to provide the name and email address of the person who will be the nominated administrator of the account. This person will be able to make applications for employment permits, add and remove other account users, and add, edit and delete employee records. This person's job duties or position in the business should therefore make it appropriate for them to process this information eg HR or a director/senior manager with responsibility for staff. On first registering, this person will need to provide the six digit employer code number issued by the Committee for Employment and Social Security. The first time you make an application for an employment permit, you will automatically be taken through the Employer Assessment (see further below).
Non-Guernsey Based Employer
If you are a non-Guernsey based employer, any application for an employment permit should be made on a "contractor" basis.
You will still be required to create an account on the Employer Portal administered by the PMO (as if you were Guernsey based).
You will be asked to provide the name and email address of the person who will be the nominated administrator of the Portal account who will have the same rights as the Guernsey based administrator (see above).
The nominated administrator should select "NO" in response to the question "Are you a Guernsey based employer?"
As you are not a Guernsey based employer, you will not be required to fill out the Employer Assessment.
There are two types of Employer Assessment, the Full Assessment and the Short Assessment:
- an employer who meets the Full Assessment threshold will be eligible to access STEPs, MTEPs and LTEPs for all "in policy" jobs listed in the Employment Permit Policy (currently around 240 - for the full list see https://populationportal.gov.gg/policies);
- an employer who only wants to apply for STEPS (ie will never require an MTEP or LTEP) can select the Short Assessment which asks fewer questions and has a lower threshold for approval.
The questions in the Employer Assessment are designed to identify businesses which will support Guernsey in achieving its medium to long term strategic policy priorities .
The quesrions relate to four main areas: business activity; direct economic benefits of the business to Guernsey; the environmental and reputational impact of the business; and matters relating to employees and to the community. Questions can be viewed at https://www.gov.gg/employerassesspolicy.
Your business will be scored out of 5 for each of the four areas. A score of 12+ reaches the Full Assessment threshold for any type of employment permit (LTEP, MTEP or STEP); a score of 4+ reaches the Short Assessment threshold for a STEP. If you reach the relevant threshold for the required permit, you will have automatic access to the relevant employment permit under the jobs listed in the Employment Permit Policy, subject to certain clearance checks (including criminal convictions).
If your business fails to reach the relevant threshold, you will not be able to access employment permits for the jobs listed in the Employment Permit Policy automatically, but you can still apply for an employment permit. In these circumstances, a decision will be made on a case by case basis.
Timing of Applications
You can make an application for an employment permit as soon as your business has a vacancy which you cannot fill from the local workforce and you have created an account on the PMO's Employer Portal. An individual does not have to have been appointed in post before the application is made.
If you make an employment permit application before appointing a person in post, the PMO may issue an "Approval in Principle" which will be valid for a specified period of time: in the case of a STEP, 3 months from the date the application was agreed; in the case of an MTEP or LTEP, 12 months from the date the application was agreed.
Where an application is urgent and the individual is needed to start work on Island during the PMO consideration process, there are two possible solutions. These are: mention the urgency to the PMO and they will deal with the application as a priority; or the PMO will consider granting a discretionary permit to cover the period of the application process.
"Out of Policy" Roles
When a job is not listed in the Employment Permit Policy as "in policy", it may be possible to obtain an "out of policy" employment permit for the role. Out of policy permits may be issued, for example, for jobs which are unique or where the employer has conducted an unsuccessful recruitment campaign locally.
Open Market Certificates and Permits
Guernsey has a two tier residential housing system divided into local market and open market housing.
Local market housing is available for occupation only by those whose personal circumstances give them the right to live in Guernsey, typically through strong local or family connections or by virtue of holding an MTEP or LTEP connected with their employment (see 'Employment Permits' above).
Occupation of open market housing is unrestricted subject to having the right to enter under the Immigration Rule). As such, it constitutes an alternative category of housing where, for whatever reason, an employment permit is not applied for or issued.
Open market accommodation falls into four categories, Part A, private family homes; Part B, hotels; Part C, residential nursing homes; and Part D houses in multiple occupation by unrelated adults (HMO). We consider only Part A and Part D (HMO) in this Advisory.
Part A private family homes:
The owner or tenant of a Part A private family home is eligible to apply for an Open Market Resident Certificate (Part A) ("OMRC"). An OMRC entitles the holder to live and work in Guernsey. The immediate and extended family members of the holder of an OMRC are each eligible to apply for an Open Market Family Member Resident Permit (Part A) (OMFMRP) by reason of the family connection. An OMFMRP entitles the holder to live and work in Guernsey. Provided the holder's circumstances remain unchanged, eligibility for an OMRC or OMFMRP should remain unchanged.
Click on the following link to see the Chart showing which family members an Open Market Part A householder can accommodate: https:// www.gov.gg/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=105186&p=0
Part D (HMO):
A person living in an Open Market Part D (HMO) property is eligible to apply for an Open Market HMO Resident Permit (Part D) (OMHMORP). An OMHMORP may be granted for up to five years and entitles the holder to live and work in Guernsey. It is tied to a specified address (but not to a named employer). The holder may not accommodate others and must leave Guernsey on the expiry of the permit and take a break in residence equivalent to their period of residence on the Island under it before they will be permitted to return.
Exceptions to the Requirement to Hold a Certificate or Permit
A person working in Guernsey is not required to hold a certificate or permit where:
- they are on a working visit to the Island which does not exceed 15 hours; or
- they are employed by an overseas employer and they work in Guernsey for a maximum of 10 days out of the preceding 30 days, and for a maximum of 90 days out of the preceding 12 months.
Originally published August 2020.
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.