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The new housing and work law legislation has arrived

The Control of Housing and Work (Jersey) Law 2012 is essentially our new immigration legislation and it merges the existing housing and regulation of undertakings laws.

The law, whilst registered, is not yet in force and is waiting for an ‘appointed day’ to be announced, which is anticipated to be in later this summer.

The new law brings with it a new system of controlling housing and working in Jersey. There are however no significant changes to the principles behind the current laws. The intention behind the law was to create a single piece of legislation which will deal with all aspects of housing, working and business set up in the Island.

It will however simplify quite complex current legislation in these areas, and will also, in many ways make the existing systems fairer.

Categories of Jersey resident

Jersey residents will be categorised as one of the following:

Entitled

This replaces the current (a) to (h) qualifications, and entitled status will generally be gained after 10 years continuous ordinary residence in the Island. Entitled status may also be obtained due to hardship grounds (the current (g), or by paying an agreed minimum amount of tax (the current (k). Unlike the current system an entitled person who has resided in the Island for 10 years, will be able to leave for aggregate periods of not exceeding 5 years without losing their entitled status, as opposed to one single period of no more than 5 years under the current system. 20 years continuous ordinary residence will confer permanent entitled status which cannot then be lost. Such a person would therefore be treated as essentially Jersey born with the requisite period of residence.

Entitled for work

A person will become entitled for work when they have acquired 5 years continuous residence in the Island prior to applying for a registration card. This reflects the current system. Obtaining 5 years residency will effectively therefore provide freedom in the labour market. This status can also be acquired by a divorced spouse, if not more than 5 years have elapsed since they became divorced from a person who was entitled, entitled for work, or of licensed status and they have resided in the Island since the divorce.

Licensed

This status is akin to the current (j) status. A person will have licensed status if they do work of a description that the Minister has specified may be done by a licensed person. This effectively means individuals who are required by local businesses as ‘essential employees’.

Registered

This is essentially the ‘non qualified’ category and will apply to anyone who does not qualify under any of the other categories above. Being a registered individual offers no preferential housing or work rights.

Registration cards

The new law also introduces a system of registration cards and a person’s employment and residential status will be recorded on it. A person will be required to obtain a card as soon as any of the following triggers first applies:

  • Completion of 3 months continuous ordinary residence in the Island;
  • Entering into a new property transaction (but only if buying or leasing, not selling); and
  • Starting new work.

A person’s registration card will reflect the permanence of their residential status. For example a Jersey born entitled person will have a permanent card and a licensed person will have a card with no expiry date as it will always need to be verified unless and until they change status.

Housing consents for property transactions (except for companies and certain other bodies) will be a thing of the past and registration cards will be checked instead.

Housing categories

All units of residential property will be recorded on a public register and they will either be registered or qualified.

Qualified

This will essentially be all units of accommodation which are currently subject to occupation control under our the current housing legislation, as well as new units. The current (a) to (h) and (J) qualified accommodation will simply become ‘qualified’.

Registered

This will cover all other units of accommodation that are not categorised as ‘qualified’, therefore all existing unqualified units such as lodging houses.

Occupation of housing

Entitled and licensed people will be able to live in and purchase any property whether it is qualified or registered. This is a significant improvement on the current system for licensed people (the current (j)’s). Licensed people will however be asked to give undertakings to sell the property should they lose their licensed status.

Entitled to work and registered people will only be able to live in registered property or share accommodation in qualified accommodation (with a licensed or entitled person).

There are however certain exceptions where registered persons will be able to live in property they have inherited.

The new law is a significant and complex piece of legislation. The purpose of this article is to highlight some of its key provisions and the fundamental changes from the current system, but it is no substitute for legal advice. To find out more see our property web page or call us on: +44 1534 888666.

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