IoM Reforms Immigration Rules

By Editorial 07 June, 2010

The Isle of Man government has announced major changes to rules surrounding work permits for nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), or from Switzerland.

Following proposals approved by Tynwald (the IoM parliament) in April 2009, the Isle of Man is introducing its own Manx Points Based System (PBS) for migrant workers and students. This will be in line with legislation which is already in place in the United Kingdom.

Explaining the new system, the government said:

“The Points Based System will not apply to applications for work permits for people from within the EEA or Switzerland and these will continue to be dealt with under the Control of Employment Act.”

“The changes will only impact on employers who require skilled workers to fill roles where nobody suitable in the Isle of Man or in the EEA can be found. Previously these employers would have used the Overseas Labour Scheme (OLS) but in future they will use Tier 2 of the Manx PBS. Working closely with the Immigration Service of the Chief Secretary’s Office, the Department of Economic Development will be responsible for administering Tiers 2 and 5 of the PBS.”

“The new system emphasizes the responsibility of employers, who will be required to register as sponsors with the Department and demonstrate that they meet certain criteria. Licensed sponsors will also need to advise the Department of the likely number of certificates of sponsorship they will need in each year and will be responsible for ensuring that the potential worker satisfies all necessary criteria prior to issuing the certificate.”

“The prospective skilled worker must achieve sufficient points to be eligible for a Certificate of Sponsorship and in order to obtain the necessary visa, or leave to remain if they are already in the Isle of Man in another capacity. Points are awarded for evidence of a lack of suitable local skilled workers, qualifications and the prospective earnings of the worker. In addition migrants must also meet points-based criteria for having sufficient funds available to them and a proficiency in English language.”

Commenting on the new system, Geoff Corkish, Political Member for the Employment and Skills Group, said:

“The introduction of the additional tiers of the Points-Based System will help to safeguard jobs and businesses in the Isle of Man by making sure that only those migrants that the economy really needs can come from outside of the EEA or Switzerland. The PBS reaffirms the position that the IoM immigration system for skilled workers is at least as robust as the system in the UK, and therefore protects the reputation of Manx employers. This is not all new. Responsible employers already have strong personnel systems in place and as such already meet many of the requirements to become a sponsor. This demonstrates the government’s commitment to ensuring that employers and migrants conform with employment law and immigration legislation and ultimately it is about shielding and guarding the Isle of Man for the best reasons.”

Applications for the Overseas Labour Scheme are to close on July 9. From this date all renewals and new applications will need to be made through the PBS. However, employers are reminded that renewal applications can be submitted up to 28 days in advance of expiry.

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