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The Department for Enterprise is proposing to temporarily remove the requirement for Work Permits across all sectors and occupations, following public consultation.

The proposed reforms to the Work Permit system on the Island will be brought to Tynwald at the October 2023 sitting.

The changes being brought forward follow support for proposals outlined in a public consultation carried out earlier this year, which sought the views of the business community and general public on reforms to the Island’s Work Permit system.

The proposals seek to temporarily remove the requirement for work permits to provide unconditional confidence to potential workers looking to relocate to the Island that they will be able to take up employment and move roles within the first five years with greater ease.

Subject to Tynwald approval of the proposed reforms, the requirement to obtain a work permit will instead be replaced by a simple registration process for the employer, providing instant confirmation to the employer and importantly to the prospective employee, as well as providing meaningful and much needed real time information on employment migration.

Tim Johnston MHK, Minister for Enterprise commented:

‘Whilst the existing system works well for the majority of employers and applicants, with consistently around 70% of applications approved within the same or next working day, there are clearly still significant perception issues around the system, including new residents being faced with a level of uncertainty in the initial stages, and for the following five years.   

‘Given the high priority in retaining and attracting economically active individuals in a highly competitive environment we must do everything we can to ensure the Island is an attractive place.

 ‘Reviewing our Work Permit system forms a key part of this, with a clear commitment outlined in Our Island Plan to remove any barriers which do not support our ambition to deliver prosperity for our community.’

The Minister added:

‘By bringing forward these proposals as set out in the consultation to Tynwald in October, the Department aims to make it easier for businesses to employ skilled workers, and to further streamline the process for relocating individuals moving to the Island to fill key vacancies.

‘Alongside this, by implementing a simple registration process, we hope to also improve the quality of demographic and migration data collected which will help inform trends and outcomes in relation to labour market, allowing us to better understand our skills requirements both now and in the future.‘

The consultation had over 250 responses and a summary of the results together with the Department’s consultation response is available on Government’s consultation hub.