The Department of Economic Development is to seek the approval of Tynwald to exempt certain workers employed in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and e-Business roles from the requirement for work permits.
E-Business, which includes e-Gaming, is the Isle of Man’s fastest growing sector and it is estimated that an additional 100 skilled workers will be required each year for the foreseeable future.
E-Business contributes approximately 25% of the Island’s National Income and directly employs over 1700 people. In addition, skilled ICT workers are required in nearly all sectors of the economy.
Minister for Economic Development Laurence Skelly MHK said:
‘We are bringing forward an exemption order as we have received a significant amount of evidence from the Island’s private sector that the great growth we are achieving in e-Business means that employers are struggling to recruit suitably skilled workers locally to fill the new job vacancies being created.
‘The high number of job vacancies for staff with ICT and e-Business skills, along with the number of work permit applications that are being received, demonstrates that suitable workers are not available in the local employment market.
‘The Department is working closely with the Department of Education and Children and many in the Island’s private sector to boost ICT education and training locally in order to help local people pursue the exciting careers available in ICT and e-Business. However, this will take time and we urgently need to help successful Manx businesses now.’
To ensure that the jobs affected are genuinely highly skilled, the exemptions will apply only to employment lasting at least 12 months and to individuals earning a salary of more than £25,000 per annum.
For ICT roles, the exemption can only be claimed for a person who: has a minimum of 3 years’ experience in an ICT role; or who holds a computer science degree; or holds certain technical or vocational qualifications; or can demonstrate competency at a specified level of the Skills Framework for the Information Age, a widely used framework for ICT skills.
For e-Business roles, the exemption can only be claimed for a person: who has a minimum of 2 years’ experience in an e-Business role; or who has advanced mathematical, statistical or data analysis skills; or who has extensive knowledge of e-Business systems or processes.
Analysis indicates that for every job in an export earning business, there are typically an additional 1.2 jobs in the wider economy, so attracting skilled workers in ICT and e-Business will also help to create jobs for IOM workers in other sectors.