Isle of Man News - POSTED Wed last week

Strong Support for Work Permit Reform

by LC

Proposed reforms to the Island’s work permit system will go before October’s Tynwald for approval following strong public and industry support.

This summer the Department of Economic Development consulted on proposed reforms to the Control of Employment secondary legislation. The consultation closed on the 31st August and received over 150 responses with the overwhelming majority of respondents supporting the Department’s proposals.

Laurence Skelly MHK, Minister for Economic Development, commented:

‘The outcome of the consultation has been clear, with a broad section of our society expressing their views on the proposed reforms and supporting the Department’s proposals. We have carefully considered the responses and will be taking them forward to Tynwald this month.

‘The proposals are intended to support the Government’s objective to develop an Island of Enterprise and Opportunity. The proposals will give our employers access to the skilled people they need to grow and also remove barriers for people returning to the Isle of Man to work. As part of the reforms we will also be looking to further promote the opportunities here on our Island and get the message out to employers that work permits should not be an obstacle where there are no Isle of Man workers available.’

Reponses were received from individuals, trade bodies, political organisations, trade unions and private and public sector employers from a wide range of sectors.

With over three quarters of responses fully supportive of the proposed reforms, it is intended to progress proposals 1-7:

1. Simplified employer only application form
2. Simplified list of matters to be taken into consideration by the Department
3. Simplified fees to encourage multi-year permits
4. Automatic 1 year permit for cohabiting partners of Isle of Man workers upon application
5. Automatic 1 year permit for cohabiting partners of work permit holders and exempt persons upon application
6. Introduction of a register of exempt persons
7. Remove the requirement for visa holders with permission to enter the Island under Tiers 1, 4 and 5 of the Points Based System to obtain an additional work permit

Whilst the Department also consulted on the idea of ‘flipping’ the system the Department does not intend to progress this idea at this stage. This proposal received less support through the consultation and would require detailed work in identifying prescribed employments (or employment sectors) potentially delaying the reforms. 

Subject to Tynwald approval, the implementation date for proposals 3, 4, 5 and 7 would be 1st November 2017. Proposals 1, 2 and 6 will take longer to implement and will be reliant on the development of new IT systems. The planned implementation date for these measures is January 2018.

Further details on the consultation, including a summary of responses and the Department’s response can be found at https://consult.gov.im/economic-development/workpermits2017/

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