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DTI Consults on Work Permit Reforms 1 December 2008

The Department of Trade and Industry has released a consultation document which is intended to precede new Regulations aimed at modernising aspects of existing work permit legislation.

The Department issues around 10,000 work permits each year, playing a vital role in ensuring employers are able to secure the suitably skilled workers they require. This in turn has assisted the economy to continue to grow at over 6% a year while the population has grown by less than 1%. The present review is intended to ensure that the legislation, the protection afforded to Isle of Man Workers and the needs of the economy are in alignment to the greatest degree possible.

Key matters considered in the consultation include proposals to:

  • update the economic and social criteria which are used to determine whether or not a permit should be granted;
  • modernise exemption policy so that some key individuals, such as those being targeted by Government inward investment policy, and also some temporary and intermittent visitors would not require permits;
  • ensure that the Department is aware of any relevant criminal convictions of persons applying for work permits and any relevant offences committed by persons subsequent to their being granted work permits.

Minister for Trade and Industry Hon David Cretney MHK commented:

“The present consultation follows on from the Review of Work Permit Legislation and its Administration” which I asked Nick Black to undertake in 2007. That review confirmed my view that there was no need to remove the work permit system and that employers and the wider public were supportive of its broad aims. Nick Black did, however, consider there was a need to review the current operation of the system to ensure that the needs of the workforce were balanced with those of the economy. Whilst the Regulations have not been amended since 1995 the economy has moved on. The proposals in the consultative document are an attempt to create a work permit system which fits the economy of the Isle of Man in the 21st century and which carefully balances the interests of Man workers and employers on the Island. If that balance is too much in favour of employers then some of our local workers may be overlooked for no good reason and may justifiably feel aggrieved; equally if employers perceive the legislation to be a strait-jacket they may choose not to invest, recruit or expand or on the Island and the legislation may have the opposite effect to that which is intended.”

Submissions are welcomed from anyone who thinks they may be affected by any of the proposals and should be sent by post or e mail to: Jonathan Clague Employment Law Policy Officer Department of Trade and Industry Hamilton House Peel Road Douglas IM1 5EP Tel. (01624) 682371 .

The consultation period ends on 31st January 2009. For further information, please contact: Jonathan Clague, Employment Law Policy Officer.

For political comment: Hon David Cretney MHK, Minister for Trade & Industry Tel. + 01624 682350

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