Here in Guernsey we understand the need for a good work life balance, and with plenty of sports and leisure opportunities as well as stunning cliffs perfect for sunset walks, there’s plenty to do to keep busy. If you prefer to relax in your free time, why not stretch out on one of Guernsey’s 27 beaches, or visit some of Guernsey’s many great restaurants and taste some fresh Guernsey produce?
Your free time doesn’t have to be a rare treat. Forget motorways and long train journeys, everything in Guernsey is just a short drive or even just a walk away, allowing you more time to spend with friends and family.
Guernsey has a variety of local events: All offering a variety of activities to get involved in during the year, perfect for getting to know the Island and the people in it.
Guernsey is also known for its safe and friendly environment. Here, crime rates are low and with a maximum speed limit of 35mph, road accidents are rare. Even Hedge Veg – a tradition where locals sell their produce on the roadside for others to buy – shows what a trusting island Guernsey is.
Income Tax in Guernsey is generally less than the UK with a flat rate of only 20%. The Island has no Capital Gains, Inheritance, Value Added or Withholding Taxes. There are also a number of favourable tax allowances and the facility for those with high incomes, to “cap” their liability.
Given the unique nature of Guernsey’s tax regime: For financial matters that may be complex, involve large sums or income from a variety of sources, discussions with expert tax advisors are recommended. We can arrange for you to be introduced to some of Guernsey’s leading Financial Advisors and Wealth Managers to discuss all of your financial needs and planning.
A wide range of benefits and services including healthcare, unemployment and social services for different individuals are available to Guernsey residents. Salaries in Guernsey tend to be higher than that of the UK. The average salary for 2012 was £29,250 with the financial services sector averaging £41,340. This is compared to £26,500 and around £33,300 respectively, in the UK.
In order to determine the method of assessment of an individual liable to pay Guernsey income tax, it is necessary first to consider that individual’s residential status.
For tax purposes, an individual will be ‘resident’, ‘solely resident’ and/or ‘principally resident’ in Guernsey. The definitions relate chiefly to the number of days spent in Guernsey during a tax year of charge and, in many cases, during a number of preceding years. The exact definitions can be found here.
An individual who is resident but not principally resident in Guernsey can either elect to pay a standard charge of £27,500, or is liable to Guernsey income tax on their worldwide income. Special provisions are available for those who are in Guernsey solely for employment purposes. Please contact us for a full list of tax allowances for single and married people.
The tax implications of the different types of residency can be explained by staff at the Income Tax offices or one could take advantage of the considerable amount of expert advice provided by one of our recommended firms.
In Guernsey law there is an upper limit of £220,000 to the amount of income tax to be paid to the Island’s tax authorities. Discussions with a professional tax advisor or Income Tax Office staff are recommended for individuals who are considering their options in this regard. In addition, an individual who is resident but not solely or principally resident in Guernsey can either elect to pay a standard charge or is liable to Guernsey income tax on their worldwide income.
Guernsey has two property markets: the Open market and the Local market.
In simple terms, for people wishing to live in Guernsey who do not have an existing right to live in a Local Market property, the Open Market is often the ‘route in’ to establishing residency. People who are coming to Guernsey to work – either employed, self-employed or as an employer – may be able to reside in Guernsey’s Local Market and need to apply for a licence to do so.
The Open Market route is very straightforward and available to anyone who holds an EU passport.
The Open Market is also available to non-EU passport holders, but the Guernsey Border Agency will also be involved in assessing the application from an immigration perspective.
The following people do not normally need permission from the Guernsey Border Agency to come to the island as residents or indeed to set up a business in the Bailiwick of Guernsey:
• British citizens
• Other nationals of Member States of the European Economic Area and Switzerland
• Other nationals who have permanent settlement in the United Kingdom, Bailiwick of Jersey or the Isle of Man.
• Any other person wishing to establish themselves in business in the Bailiwick must obtain an entry clearance (visa) prior to his/her arrival.
The entry clearance must be applied for through the British Consular representative in the person’s country of residence. This is usually initially done through an online process via the Home Office website. Discussions with the Locate Guernsey Team are recommended who will be able to provide advice and contacts on Island to aid the start of this process.
The same is true for what are called the Investor Immigration route and Entrepreneur Immigration routes into Guernsey. These programmes are available to non-EU passport holders who wish to live in Guernsey’s Open Market and can do so, either by investing in the island or by buying or establishing a business in the Island.
The compulsory age of school attendance in Guernsey is from 5 to 16 years, with a number of opportunities available to pupils if they wish to continue their studies post 16.
Most pupils will be admitted to primary education at the beginning of the school year in which they reach the age of five; and will be allocated a place in the school that serves the Guernsey Catchment Areas where they live. During the last year of primary school a selection process for secondary education will take place, awarding the pupil with either a space at their nearest high school, the Island’s Grammar School or at one of the three grant-aided colleges.
Guernsey offers an excellent education system with free schooling for all students up to the age of 18. There are also three grant-aided private colleges on the Island.
Banking and money
Guernsey uses the same currency as the UK meaning that English banknotes and coins can be used in the Island. Guernsey also produces its own locally issued banknotes, which include unique £1 notes in addition to all of the standard notes that can be found in the UK.
Setting up a personal or business bank account is simple with the majority of the international banks being found in Guernsey, often as offshore subsidiaries. Business accounts can only be set up with proof of residency in the Island. English bank accounts can be easily converted to Guernsey based accounts.
It is easy and simple to open a bank account or transfer bank accounts to the Island if this is where you, as an individual, and your business are based.
Social security contributions
Payment of Social Security contributions is mandatory and gives the employer and employee insurance protection and provides individuals with a number of benefits.
New employers need to register with the Social Security Department. The contribution rate for employees is 6% of gross earnings, whilst employers pay 6.5%. Self-employed individuals pay 10.5% and non-employed individuals pay 9.9%.
Guernsey is situated 50km off the north-west coast of France in the Bay of St. Malo and 120km from the English coast.
An independent and self-governing island forming part of the southernmost group of islands that make up the British Isles. The Bailiwick of Guernsey includes the smaller neighbouring islands of Sark, Herm and Alderney. The Island has a total surface area of 63.4 sq. km, with only 15% of this being built upon. The population of Guernsey as of March 2012 was 63,085 with a population density of 995 people per sq. km.
Guernsey has a milder climate than the UK and benefits from more sunshine hours. Islanders make the most of the outdoors with the beaches and water activities being extremely popular during the summer months.
Many international banks, fund managers and insurance companies are establishing here. Whilst the traditional industries of tourism, flower growing, fishing and dairy farming still play an important role in contributing to the local economy, there are also a number of high profile light industries based on the Island.
Guernsey’s constitution & history
Guernsey, together with the other Channel Islands, was part of the Duchy of Normandy before the conquest of continental Normandy by the French King Phillipe-Auguste in 1204 following his defeat of King John of England at Rouen. The defeat signalled England’s loss of continental Normandy which had been united with the English Crown since the invasion of England by William the Conqueror in 1066. Guernsey, part of the Duchy of Normandy for more than a hundred years at that point, made the decision to remain loyal to the King of England.
From this point the Island has pledged its allegiance to the English Crown but not to the British Government and as such is not part of the UK, remaining autonomous in relation to its domestic affairs, including taxation. However in practise through the Crown, the British Government is formally responsible for the Island’s defence and its international relations.
For a small Island Guernsey has a surprisingly diverse landscape. The south of the Island is a mix of high hedgerows, green fields and forested valleys together with a quaint village feel. The southern cliffs offer uninterrupted sea views and a chance to escape the bustle of the town centre.
The west coast is the summer destination of all Islanders who take advantage of some of Britain’s cleanest beaches and the Island’s best surfing areas.
These are the best places to go to enjoy a warm summer’s evening after a hard day’s work. The beach is never more than a short drive or even just a walk away. Towards the north of the Island you can find common areas which are well utilised by golfers and walkers. The east coast is the urban hub of the Island but even this has not lost its small town feel with cobbled streets and regular events showcasing local produce and activities.
The island offers a wide range of attractive properties to suit the lifestyle you wish to lead. Guernsey’s Anglo-Norman heritage is clear in its rural retreats, or if you prefer, modern apartments and houses in the town centre are available with breath-taking sea views. We can provided a concierge service to help you find your perfect home, with access to the best properties on the market.
Guernsey’s housing market & the right to work law
Because of the Island’s small size, there are some controls on who can come to live and work in Guernsey. These controls are in addition to the immigration controls of the Guernsey Border Agency (which relate only to non-EU passport holders).
The controls work by splitting the Island’s housing stock into two categories: Open Market and Local Market.
There are no limits on the length of time that families in an Open Market property can live in Guernsey. But there are controls on who can live in the Island’s Local Market housing. In general, newcomers to the island will take up residence in Guernsey’s Open Market, but if employment is the primary reason for coming to live in Guernsey, then a Housing Licence may be awarded, entitling that person to live in Local Market property.
The controls on Local Market housing include controls on who can live in it and for how long. There will sometimes be other controls on the type of housing that a person can live in and the job they must do and the employer they must work for.
The Right to Work Law
Because of the size of the Island legislation was introduced in 1990 to make sure that everyone who is working on the Island is living here legally. The law requires everyone working to obtain a document from the Housing Department to show that they are lawfully housed. People living in Guernsey’s Open Market are of course entitled to work should they need to or want to.
There are a number of ways in which people living in Guernsey can be housed lawfully and full details can be found on the States of Guernsey Housing Department website.
Guernsey’s Housing Control system is soon to change and it is intended that in 2017 a new system will be introduced. The ethos of the Open Market (a straightforward and rapid method of residing in Guernsey) will be unchanged in this new system.