It is anticipated that the qualification period will be lowered to 15 years by the end of this year and that next year the system will be scrapped altogether to be replaced by some form of licensing scheme.And Housing believes it can handle any extra administration resulting from a licensing scheme without having to recruit more staff or ask for further resources.
Committee president Deputy Terry Le Main said that with responsibility for Housing benefits due to be transferred to Employment and Social Security when the rules governing residential qualifications are revised, his department will be able to handle the licensing process.However, he stressed that some type of time qualification period would still have to be in place in order to avoid an ‘opening of the floodgates’.
‘We cannot just scrap qualifications next year as that will cause a lot of problems.
We will phase in the new system to allow people to qualify gradually,’ he said.Yesterday the States unanimously approved a Housing Committee proposal to reduce the length of time from 17 to 16 years for people to be qualified under the laws.And Deputy Le Main said today that he expected a system of licensing people will be introduced next year as part of an overall immigration policy that is in the process of being formulated.He said when that immigration policy is in place, it will probably result in Housing issuing licences to people who arrive in the Island.
‘I expect we would be able to licence those people who are considered essentially employed and those who we believe will make a contribution to the Island.’I also expect that we would be able to look at a person’s background and take into account factors such as criminal record in making licensing decision,’ said the Deputy.He pointed out that although the States have already agreed that Housing lower the qualification period to 15 years, the Deputy said his committee did not believe it was appropriate to do that in one step.’We have been gradually lowering the time period and I was pleased that the committee got the support from the States yesterday.
I am confident that the House will support a move to 15 years soon.
However, the States told Housing not to go lower than 15 years,’ he said.