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L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Unmarried Partners Right To Work Proposals

11 April 2023

Proposals have been published to give unmarried partners in long-term relationships the same rights to work in Jersey as partners who are married or in civil partnerships.

Amendments to the Control of Housing and Work (Residential and Employment Status) Regulations have been lodged which give employment rights to unmarried partners who can demonstrate that they have been in a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership for at least two years. The Regulations are due for debate in May. 

At present, unmarried partners are restricted to being employed in ‘registered’ jobs for the first five years of their residence. Now, provided that their partner has the right to access the local job market (i.e. holds ‘Entitled’, ‘Entitled to work’ or ‘Licensed’ status), the unmarried partner will be granted ‘Entitled for Work Only’ status and will be able to access all local jobs.

The Chief Minister, Deputy Kristina Moore, has signed the Ministerial Decision which lodges the amendment. 

“The Population and Skills Ministerial Group has been set up to help Ministers co-ordinate policies across these important areas,” Deputy Moore said. “As we work together to create a community where everyone can thrive, this change will support us in our focus on the recruitment and retention of staff. It is fairer, and ends a barrier that has made Jersey less attractive to some people with the essential skills that we need.”

Deputy Lucy Stephenson has recently joined the Population and Skills Ministerial Group expanding her remit as Assistant Chief Minister. She said: “Many people choose not to get married. These are people who have committed to their partner and to the Island by moving here together, and it’s fair that they are able to find employment and contribute to the Island from the day that they arrive, rather than waiting for five years. We are committed to maximising our workforce’s productivity through recruitment and retention, and it is just common sense to enable people who are already permenant Jersey residents to work.” 

The change in regulation is also expected to make Jersey more attractive for those Islanders who have moved away, and want to move back to Jersey with their partner.

Deputy Stephenson said: “Many young islanders who have left for education and career development have met their life partner by the time they want to return to the Island, so by changing the regulations we will be helping to shape the Island’s workforce both now and in the future.”

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