The island’s Immigration Office is currently ‘backlogged’ with a large number of visa applications.

Members from other government departments have been drafted in to help with the current amount of applications, which have been described as having ‘skyrocketed’ over the last few years.

In the 2017/18 financial year, before Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, the Immigration Office received 856 visa applications and 8,600 passport applications. In 2021/22, there was a significant rise to 2,251 visa applications, which further increased in 2023/24 to 4,451.

The number of passport applications in 2023/24 also increased to 12,197.

During Tuesday’s House of Keys sitting, Treasury Minister Dr Alex Allinson highlighted the significant rise in applications. He said: ‘The numbers from 2023/24 are five times more than the number of visas received prior to Brexit.

‘As of May 8 this year, the Immigration Office has already received 283 visa applications and 1,524 passport applications, demonstrating that this upward trend has to be considered as permanent rather than temporary.’

Dr Allinson also highlighted that in addition to processing applications, the immigration officers have also had to deal with ‘unexpected’ law enforcement activities in relation to immigration cases. This has included ‘common travel area’ compliance at the island’s borders.

As a result of ‘increased work pressure’ within the Immigration Office, the Treasury Minister also confirmed that members of staff who have been dealing with visa applications have left their role.

He said: ‘We are in the process of replacing them and the plan is to strengthen the team of staff to accommodate the increase in workloads.

‘We've also brought staff in from other departments as a temporary measure to assist with this backlog, but it will take time to get them all fully trained, as this is a complex and specialist area of expertise.

‘We’re also working to make better use of technology, while the customs law enforcement team are undertaking training in immigration matters to take over common travel area compliance at the border.’

Meanwhile, visa application fees have increased in the island since April 6. The current price for a ‘temporary worker’ (tier five) is £298, a student (tier four) is £490 and an ‘exceptional talent’ (tier one) is priced at £716 per application.

Part of the Island Plan, a document which sets out the Government’s policies and strategies, is to exponentially grow the island’s population.

It states on the Island Plan website that ‘we need to ensure that Government has proportionate and responsive policy in place so that, overall, inward migration adds to our economy and society’.

It continues: ‘We will also work to keep our island safe by securing our ports. This includes action to enhance security at points of entry and improve information sharing between law enforcement agencies and carriers.’