This week's prosecution of Spice Catering Ltd for work permit breaches highlighted the important work of the Department of Economic Development's team of Inspectors.
Mr Mohammed Hoque, a director of Spice Catering Ltd, pleaded guilty to employing people without work permits and was fined £2500 on behalf of the company. Mr Hoque answered similar charges on behalf of Spice Catering Ltd on 6th January 2009, when fines were also imposed.
The Department's Inspectors had responded to a tip-off about malpractice which was alleged to have taken place at Mr Hoque's restaurant, 'Spice of India' in Peel Street, Ramsey.
Minister for Economic Development Laurence Skelly MHK commented:
'This case highlights the importance of the Inspectors in ensuring a fair and secure working environment on the Isle of Man. Breaches of this seriousness are rare, hence the Department's robust response in this aggravated case.
'The Inspectors work to agreed Department guidelines but action is taken with regard to all alleged breaches which are reported to them. Last year the Inspectors conducted 233 compliance visits and responded to 104 complaints. Their work ensures compliance with all key pieces of employment legislation and protects workers against exploitation.
'The Department would like to take this opportunity to thank business owners for their co-operation during inspections and investigations. The continuation of a thorough approach to employment malpractice is essential and demonstrates the Department's dedication to establishing safe and stable employment opportunities for all workers.
Last year, fewer than 4000 work permits were approved, compared to 2003, when almost 13,000 work permits were approved in the year, which is reflective of the greater number of Isle of Man workers being employed.
Initial figures suggest that in 2014 approximately 98% of work permit applications were approved.
In recent years the work permit system has become much more responsive to the needs of clients, with 92% of work permits being processed in 10 working days or less.