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States Asked To Widen Scope Of Accepting Refugees

Guernsey's government will be asked to look at how the island might accommodate refugees and asylum seekers in future.

The issue will be raised in the debate on the war in Ukraine this week, and has been proposed by deputy Gavin St Pier.

The main debate  - to formally oppose and denounce the Russian invasion - has been brought by Policy and Resources.

Work is ongoing to see how Guernsey can accept refugees by adopting the UK's Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme.

More than 200 islanders have already offered to accommodate them.

Deputy St Pier says given that a number of committees are already looking into this, the scope could be widened to others fleeing conflict.

Deputies will be asked to agree:

"Taking the opportunity of the work already being undertaken in developing policies and legislation in response to the Ukrainian conflict, to direct relevant committees to give consideration to whether such policies and legislation can be applied in a manner which is appropriate for Guernsey to others seeking refuge or asylum (particularly from past, present and future conflicts); and that the Policy & Resources Committee having led and co-ordinated this work, reports back to the States in due course.”

His amendment has the support of Policy & Resources President Deputy Peter Ferbrache.

Deputy St Pier also wants the States to consider the economic impact of the war on fuel and food prices and the security of supplies into Guernsey.

In a second amendment, backed by P&R Vice-President Deputy Heidi Soulsby, Deputy St Pier asked Deputies to acknowledge:

"...the conflict may have significant impacts on Guernsey and its community including, among other things, on energy and food security and prices, logistics and supply chains, cyber security and public expenditure and revenues and consequently upon the States’ objectives, policy plans and priorities in the Government Work Plan."

Deputy St Pier says States departments are working hard to respond to the conflict in Ukraine and this week's States debate to formally oppose it presents an opportunity to recognise those efforts, how they can be developed, and what the wider implications might be:

“It is also important that the work on developing a local Homes for Ukraine sponsor visa scheme is completed as soon as possible.  And having done that work, it cannot be wasted and consideration must be given to how it can be applied to other situations which give rise to those who need sanctuary that Guernsey may be able to provide in the future.

The extent and duration of this conflict which has begun in Ukraine is unknown.  It has the potential not only to have a significant impact on us all individually, but also on government’s ability to deliver its plans and priorities.  It’s worth taking the opportunity to acknowledge that now."

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