The Isle of Man Worker route: an update

Thinking about emigrating to the Isle of Man? Here are just some of the reasons you should trust the experts.
Isle of Man visa processing times
Thinking about emigrating to the Isle of Man? Here are just some of the reasons you should trust the experts.
Isle of Man visa processing times
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The Isle of Man Worker route: an update

As we know all sectors in the Isle of Man are experiencing a crisis when it comes to hiring new staff at the moment. From chefs, teachers, administrators to IT specialists – the fight for the talent is in full swing.

If you are an employer looking to fill a job vacancy that cannot be met by the local workforce or you are an individual looking for the chance to live and work in the Isle of Man, you should  definitely consider the Isle of Man Worker route. This post will examine what this immigration route is, how it works and answer some commonly asked questions.

What is the Isle of Man Worker immigration route?

While many aspects of the Isle of Man’s Immigration system closely resemble the UK system, the Isle of Man Worker route is totally unique to the Isle of Man and allows Manx employers to attract and retain skilled employees of all nationalities in a wide variety of sectors.

The Isle of Man Worker migrant route is the much more streamlined replacement visa to the old UK-style Tier 2 visa. Under the scheme, Isle of Man employers do not require a proven track record or a Sponsor Licence before they can employ workers from outside Britain and Ireland.

The prospective employee will need to have the requisite skills or experience to take on the qualifying employment.

What constitutes qualifying employment?

The Isle of Man has its own lists of qualifying roles, and shortage occupation (key employment) roles which are eligible for this immigration route. These lists focus on the island’s own policy and are unique to the Isle of Man’s employment needs. The list of qualifying roles is much broader than those of the UK and include hundreds of different roles in a range of sectors including but not limited to:

  • E-Business & Information Communication Technology;
  • Medical, Health and Social care;
  • Education and Training;
  • Hospitality, Catering and Food production;
  • Horticulture and the environment;
  • Financial and Professional Services;
  • Engineering & Manufacturing;
  • Construction;
  • Law;
  • Science;
  • Retail;
  • Utilities, Mining and Quarrying;
  • Locistics and transport;and
  • Public Service

Many of the jobs in the lists of qualifying roles, particularly in the E-Business & ICT and Hospitality sectors, are considered key employment. This means that it recognised that there is a need for this particular skill set in the island so the employer can approach international candidates directly, without first needing to advertise the position to settled workers. Key employment roles include, for instance, IT project and programme managers, IT business analysts, system designers, programmers and software development professions, web design and development professionals, chefs, financial managers and directors and chartered and certified accountants.

The minimum salary required to be paid for any qualifying role will depend on the job and the age and experience of the employee.

How do I apply for the Isle of Man Worker visa?

Step 1: Obtaining a Confirmation of Employment (CoE):

Once the position has been properly advertised (and no suitable candidates can be found locally) or if the employment is on the shortage occupation (key employment list), the employer can apply for a Confirmation of Employment (CoE). The Isle of Man Immigration Service decides the application (usually) within 2-3 weeks.  

Employers should be aware that the CoE application form and supporting documents submitted at the CoE stage can have an impact on the employee’s visa application at a later stage. Time is usually of the essence when it comes to this type of immigration application, so it is sensible to seek the advice of an Isle of Man immigration professional from the outset to avoid unnecessary delays. While many employers and agencies are familiar with the domestic Work Permit system in the Isle of Man, very few understand the complexities of immigration applications.

Step 2: The Visa application:

The next step is for the candidate to apply for the Isle of Man Worker visa.

The employee will need to show that they meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. The main requirements are that:

  • the applicant is at least 16 years old;
  • a valid CoE;
  • the applicant can demonstrate that they can speak English to the required level; and
  • the applicant must show that they can maintain and accommodate themselves and any dependants who may be joining them.

The visa application stage is much more than simple form filling – it is a meticulous and complex process requiring a knowledge of specific nuances of making an Isle of Man application.

Isle of Man Worker route: Frequently Asked Questions

How good does my English need to be?

For the Isle of Man Worker migrant route, you will need to demonstrate your English level in a way prescribed under the Immigration Rules, for instance by passing an English test at CEFR level B1.

How long is the visa granted for?

The initial visa (entry clearance) is usually granted for a period of three years and one month. Before the expiry of this visa and assuming the applicant meets the requirements, this will be extended for a further period which, when added to the initial grant of the visa, does not exceed six years.

Does the Isle of Man Worker Migrant visa lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and British citizenship?

Those in the Isle of Man Worker migrant route may apply for ILR after five years, and for British citizenship typically after a further one year.

Can I bring my family?

This immigration route allows a spouse or partner and minor children to move with the main applicant, and they can work, subject to work permits and conditions set out in the Immigration Rules. Older children may need to be considered as a separate case.  We can advise on this.

Can I work on this visa, other than for my main employer?

As the name implies, this is a Worker visa, so there is a general prohibition that applicants cannot be self-employed or in any arrangement akin to self-employment.

You can undertake limited supplementary employment (including voluntary work), but before commencing any supplementary employment or self-employment, we recommend you discuss your plans with Kinley Legal so we can help ensure they comply with the Immigration Rules.

Do I need a criminal record certificate to obtain this visa?

A criminal record certificate is not generally required unless you are to be employed in the medical, dental, health, education or social care sectors. For these types of roles, you and your adult dependants may need to obtain criminal record certificates from each country you have lived in in the last ten years.

How can Kinley Legal help?

Kinley Legal is a fully insured specialist law firm, specialising in Isle of Man immigration and British nationality work. All our lawyers are based in the Isle of Man and hold qualifications to practise not only in the Isle of Man, but also jurisdictions such as England and Wales, Ireland and South Africa. We have significant experience working with employers and candidates alike to advise on the Isle of Man Worker route.

In addition to assisting you with any immigration related queries, we can also advise on and prepare employment contracts, corporate formation documents, work permit requirements and advise on some of the assistance/grants offered by Isle of Man government bodies when relocating staff.  

If you would like to make an appointment for a call, in-person meeting or online meeting to discuss your situation please get in touch by e-mail at immigration@kinleylegal.com or complete our simple contact form, and we would be pleased to help.