Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bienvenue a Jersey...2012 style

The many millions of unemployed people from the EU and beyond cannot all find work and somewhere to live in Jersey but this is the personal "testimony" from just one recent arrival.

This is the human face of the desperate problem that now confronts us.

Adriana is from Romania and seeks work as a carer or domestic. She has previously worked in Germany, Greece and Spain and speaks Spanish, English and of course Romanian.

After two weeks, with funds running low she now realises that it will be very difficult to become established in this Island but why should we try to devise policies (such as the £75 registration fee) to make it even more difficult for her?

Are we a Christian society or not? Do we want to comply with non-discrimination stndards?

Similar tales are being recited all over Europe as millions of people migrate from one country to another but the nationalist calls to protect "local interests first" are also being voiced. What is wrong with that?
Potentially worse still is the allied trend towards far-right extremist sentinments.

The reliance upon the use of Housing Law controls as a means of retricting immigration into Jersey has proved totally useless and counter-productive. The population has risen from 60,000 to 100,000 since 1960 yet the housing shortage is worse now then it was in 1949. Discrimination has become an integral part of the Jersey "way of life."

Unemployment in Jersey is at a  low level (at most 4,000 from a working poulation of 50,000) but is higher than is usual in this affluent Island which does not pay "unemployment benefit".
Compared with such countries as Spain - where unemployment is in excess of 25% - Jersey has a very low unempoloyment level.

Reliable figures for Romania are not available since so many people have left that country seeking work elsewhere that the statistics are grossly distorted.

Adriana's predicament is just another facet of the many social problems that confronts Jersey today and will be discussed at SSTAG meetings over the coming weeks and months.
The next  SSTAG public meeting is on Thursday 14 June from 3 pm at the Eastern Good Companions Club, le Marais, St Clement ALL ARE WELCOME.
refer to the SSTAG blogsite on for more information and contacts.


  1. why dose she not go back home?

  2. So, who caused the Crisis; was it the immigrants or was it the bankers?

    Across Europe workers are paying the price for a failure of the financial system that was not of their creation. Business is “on strike”, refusing to invest and create jobs.

    She answers the question why does she not go home – simple - it is worse – corrupt; no proper contracts of employment. Exploitation is acceptable is seems.

    Certainly it is important for progressive to argue against the tendency to blame the immigrants for the social problems that exist and for the absence of jobs. That is a failure of the system itself. There is worse to come, that is certain.

  3. I have watched the whole interview and this lady comes across as a really lovely person and I have no issue with her whatsoever and wish her the best of luck.

    What I am not so sure about is the piece you write you come across as we should provide the answers to many problems. Because we are a christian society and also our unemployment levels are low compared to other countries that maybe we should be lowering the regulations to seek work here.

    Whilst our unemployment levels are high for Jersey it is of no relevance how they compare with other countries We, as an island should be looking after each other first and foremost so why should we let anyone in to work without first assuring ourselves that we have looked after the current population first.

    Possibly, what you meant is not the same as how I have understood it but you dont explain what you would do to ensure the islands infrastructure could sustain hundreds if not thousands more immigrants seeking work here.

    I am far from racist or xenophobic yet appreciate you might think that I give that impression, I hate the term immigrants but I suppose that is the correct word unfortunately, foreign jobseekers would better say how I describe them. My main problem is that you seem to think that our unemployment level is not such an issue for us because it is worse elsewhere. Whereas I would say it is just as bad an issue despite the percentages being different, unemployement is a problem fullstop. Do you think we should allow more people in until we are also at 25% unemployement because that is what I have gatheered from your piece.

    Hopefully, you can answer some of the above here as I cant make it to your SSTAG meeting.

    Finally, I wish Adriana the best of luck and I am sure she would not want to see Jersey with 25% unemployement, whereas I dont get the impression it would bother you provided we are in the same situation as other places.

  4. AS a non-Christian I use that as a taunt of course. If this was a socialist society a similar taunt could be used to criticise attempts to give priority to one person over another.
    The whole problem is not easily resolved either on a theoretical basis or at a practical level.
    Today I have spent many hours taking Adriana around Jersey knocking on doors and have been amazed at the effort she had already made to find a job.
    Hopefully she has an offer and will report back in due course here but her genuine enthusiasm to find any employment is extraordinary to me.

    I have no doubts about her sense of morality but I do wonder what to make of ours in this still "affluent" community. That there is still plenty of wealth here to share with others I have no doubt but I have some difficulty with the concept of a birth based queue where such essentials as employment and housing are concerned.

    I did try to draw out some of the discrimination contradictions in Romanian society during the interview to compare with those in Jersey. That they exist the world over is one of the many dilemmas to be resolved but I certainly don't want the population of Jersey to suffer just because people elsewhere are struggling.

    The fairer distribution of wealth is also a universal problem yet to be resolved.....

  5. Ok, I kind of understand what you meant in your article and appreciate you are not giving a solution but merely letting the reader deduce their own opinion.

    I agree with your fairer distribution of wealth arguments but I just dont see how we can help when it comes down to a population of JErsey level. Yes, we should distribute the wealth given an ideal society, unfortunately many wealthy people dont agree, although many others do, and are happy to help out. But, their is a difference between distributing wealth and distributing it so as we allow the population levels to rise, it is quite clear to me at the moment that our infrastructure is struggling a little with the population and to distribute the wealth by allowing loads more people in to the island is not the way to go. Unless we want to end up losing what makes Jersey great to foreign visitors. You know, the small community spirit and all that.

    Without a doubt the distribution of wealth is falling short here, especially when many wealthy people have this belief they are distributing their wealth by empoloying servents (aka gardeners or cleaners) on minimum wages.

    I asked a question on yahoo regarding all the debt that every country seems to owe every other country and what would happen if they all said, sod it, lets just cancel the lot and start again. The answer I received, which I think is quite true is that the creditors would lose all their power in one foul swoop and that would mean the end of their power over most of the worlds population, despite it being a radical and possibly one fix for many problems.

    I have gone right off topic there but it all boils down to what you believe in I supose, Capitalist versus Socialist and any in betweens are just pointless arguments, in my opinion.

  6. It would be perfectly feasible to allow unlimited immigration, indeed it would be preferable, but only if there were no government services of any kind on offer (that includes healthcare, social payments, education etc.).

    However, if you wish to retain the benefits of Jersey residential status, which is of course a distortion of the free market, then there must also be some corresponding distortion in terms of a barrier to entry to labour.

    Think of it this way... could Advocates charge £500 per hour if the number of Advocates were not strictly limited?