Call for full tax breaks for families who host students

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Last month it was revealed that Treasury Minister Susie Pinel had authorised a grant of £100,000 to JCG to run a pilot scheme to attract more international pupils to Jersey, from countries such as Hong Kong, China and Germany.

If the scheme is successful other schools could also be asked to join.

Sid Brown, the principal of St Brelade’s College, said, however, that he was concerned that the move could put pressure on the limited pool of families who were willing to host overseas students.

He added that he believed that families should receive full tax relief on the income they received for hosting students, as this would encourage more households to do so. Currently families are taxed on half the income they receive for hosting.

‘Homestay providers don’t just do it for the money – it can be hard work but rewarding. They do it for the cultural benefits to their families and also to the Island,’ he said.

‘Bringing international students to the Island has both cultural and economic benefits and it provides jobs. Students can also form ties with the Island and keep in touch for years.’

St Brelade’s College, which last year celebrated its 40th anniversary, offers English lessons for foreign students and operates a large summer school that brings over more than 2,500 pupils to Jersey each year,

Mr Brown said that the college currently had around 120 active homestays for students and a ‘realistic’ estimate would be that a new homestay could bring in up to £25,000 of extra income per year to the Island, before taking into account the money students spent during their stay.

But he added that he was concerned that the pool might not be large enough if other schools started bringing international students to Jersey.

‘If JCG are going to be bringing international students to the Island they are going to be competing with us for the homestays, and they have had a £100,000 grant to assist them,’ he said.

‘So, we are concerned that there may not be enough host families to go around. If they were not taxed on the income they receive, then it would encourage more families to host students.’

Mr Brown said that he had expressed his concerns to two ministers but had received no response.

‘I would have thought that because we are so involved in this area we might have been contacted at the start of the process before JCG were awarded the grant but we weren’t,’ he said.

‘I only found out about it from reading the JEP.’

The move to grant £100,000 specifically to JCG was criticised at the time by the National Education Union, which questioned why other schools had not received funding for projects they wished to undertake.

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