Jersey’s growing Filipino community asks for more support

Two women
Image caption,Dina Rouse (left) and Marlene Ferrer from Jersey’s Filipino community

Members of Jersey’s Filipino community are asking for more support as their community grows in the island.

The community estimates there are about 2,000 Filipino living in Jersey.

Staff from the Philippine embassy in the UK recently came to Jersey for the first time in six years to help people with issues including passports, civil registration and citizenship.

Community leaders have called for such visits to become annual due to the significant population growth.

Those needing to renew or update official paperwork would normally have to travel to the country’s embassy in London.

Marlene Ferrer said it could cause a lot of problems for people like herself: “Normally, we have to go to London for a day or two and then come back again.

“We have to spend a fortune on [travel] and then, if it’s not finished, you have to go back again.”

Image caption,Rhenita Rodriguez said it was important for the embassy to build on its relationship with the Government of Jersey

Dina Rouse is working with the embassy to arrange more regular visits.

She said: “This helps the Guernsey community too, because it’s much easier for them to come here rather than trying to go to London.

“The population is getting bigger because more people are working in hospitality, the health sector, as well as traditional industries like farming and fishing.”

Rhenita Rodriguez, deputy head of mission and consul general for the UK embassy, said it was important to build on the relationship with Jersey’s government as well.

Christine Hellio
Image caption,Christine Hellio said the current system was penalising the people needed most for industries such as farming

She said: “It’s been a few weeks of back and forth between the Philippine embassy and the Government of Jersey.

“We want to continue this work and we look forward to more visits here in Jersey.”

Farmer Christine Hellio employs a number of Filipinos.

She has called for a change in the rules so people with work permits in Jersey do not have to pay social security and long-term care contributions as their permit forced them to leave the island, so they would not benefit.

She said: “The farming industry could not cope without them, we just would not function … they are penalising the people we need most.

“All my workers … are not going to get old here – they are never going to be able to use the long-term care; they are only allowed to stay for a maximum of nine months.”

In October, a scrutiny panel found more could be done to protect and inform work permit holders.

At the time, Home Affairs Minister Helen Miles recognised “areas for improvement, some of which concern immigration policy”.

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