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New work permit Act comes into operation

Monday, 28 September 2015

New work permit changes made by the Control of Employment Act 2014 will come into operation on Thursday 1 October.

Minister for Economic Development Laurence Skelly MHK said:

‘The Department’s aim is to balance the interests of Isle of Man workers, who continue to be protected by the new Act, with the need of employers to attract the skilled workers they require and so enable the long term economic development of the Isle of Man.

‘As the Chief Minister highlighted in his Agenda for Change speech in July’s Tynwald we need to develop an ‘Enterprise Isle’ where businesses find the right environment to flourish and Government is responsive to their needs.

‘As part of this strategy, we need to give a much greater degree of certainty to local employers and prospective skilled workers who want to move here to take up employment.

‘The reforms that we are introducing will reduce bureaucracy and make the Island even more attractive to those interested in setting up new businesses here, which will further help our commitment to achieving job creation.

‘I would like to thank the Chamber of Commerce which has worked very closely with my Department to analyse and implement these important reforms. I would also like to thank the Government Technology Service and our software provider PDMS, both of whom are helping us deliver innovative and cost-effective IT solutions which will improve services at lower cost. Finally, I would like to thank my staff who have worked hard to engage all stakeholders and implement effective solutions.’

The most important changes are:

  • A person who has been resident in the Island for an unbroken period of 5 years which ends after 1 October will be an Isle of Man worker. The old legislation imposed certain conditions if the person left the Island after the 5 year period.
  • Nurses and social workers, both occupations where there are skills shortages, are exempted from the requirement for a work permit and the Department of Economic Development’s powers to exempt employments are widened.
  • Spouses and civil partners of permit holders and exempt workers will be able to obtain a 1 year permit directly from the Department which they can use in any employment. Under the old legislation, while there was an entitlement to a 1 year permit, the employer had to apply for a permit on behalf of the worker, which created some confusion. The new system will be simpler and clearer for both individuals and employers.
  • The criteria that the Department uses when deciding whether a work permit is granted have been revised. In particular, while the Department will still continue to have regard to any suitable Isle of Man workers who are available this will be balanced with consideration both as to any skills, qualifications, knowledge or experience required for the particular position and the importance of the position to the applicant’s business.
  • The Department will, in the majority of cases, be prepared to grant permits for periods of up to 5 years rather than requiring permits to be renewed annually. This will give individuals and employers much more certainty among other benefits. For example, individuals will be more able to purchase property and secure longer term property lets.
  • The Department also has a new power to exempt a person working in a particular employment where this is in the national interest. 

The Department, assisted by the Government Technology Service, has upgraded its computer system to support the introduction of the changes. This has also enabled the foundations to be laid for putting in place new online services as part of Government’s Digital Strategy including an application process for employers and other applicants.

Further information on work permits, including a new guide and new application forms can be found on the Department’s website at /categories/working-in-the-isle-of-man/work-permits/

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