Guernsey: Offshore Legal and Tax Regimes
Employment and Residence
There are no special privileges or disabilities for the employees of non-resident or offshore operations as such. Nationals of European Union member states have free right of movement in Guernsey for the purposes of work and establishment. Non EU nationals must complete immigration formalities and obtain a work permit. Generally a work permit will be granted only if no suitably qualified local exists. Preference is given to UK and other European Union nationals.
The work permit policy is primarily export sector based and, except as provided for within this policy, issued solely to Keyworkers. A Keyworker Permit may be issued to skilled/qualified workers normally allowing a maximum of 4 years continuous employment. The Home Department will, however, consider a longer period if a high degree of essentiality to the Bailiwick can be demonstrated.
New businesses moving into the Island will be advised how many, if any, licences will be made available to them before they set up business. At present the supply of licences is very meagre, and new businesses must be prepared to buy/rent on the open market in order to house staff.
Housing in Guernsey is carefully controlled and this is the means by which the island prevents excessive immigration. Under the Housing Control of Occupation (Guernsey) Laws 1982 to 1990 the housing market is divided into 'local market' houses, and 'open market' houses. By the end of September 2011, the average price of a house on the open market exceeded GBP422,510. There is a register of those properties which are on the open market. These properties are available for occupation by any person who wishes to take up residence in the Island and who satisfies immigration requirements. However, the number of these properties is restricted to about 2,000 and cost upwards from GBP450,000.
Broadly speaking, local market homes are available only to natives of Guernsey and their children (if they have spent 10 years living there). A further class of licence-holders with access to local market homes includes essential workers; however senior executives are often not given licences, forcing them to shop on the open market.
NB: The Guernsey housing laws are complex, and the above is a simplified statement.