Isle of Man: Business Environment
Residence and Property
IImmigration legislation on the Isle of Man is similar to that in the United Kingdom and applies to nearly everyone who is not a British citizen or who does not have the right of abode in the United Kingdom, although Irish citizens and EEA citizens exercising treaty rights are exempt from many provisions.
The Manx government permits non-residents to purchase and own property on the island. Indeed, without an influx of new residents there would be a decline in the overall population. The official policy is to target specific areas for growth and ensure their compatibility with the Manx community. The recent expansion of the finance sector has created many more jobs than could possibly be supplied by the existing market. The resulting demand for professional and skilled people from outside the island is therefore likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
Potential property buyers will find a comprehensive range of properties available on the island ranging from apartments right up to large country and coastal properties. New executive developments on the outskirts of Douglas have met much of the increased demand for new property. Housing stock exists in many other parts of the island, where prices can often be lower. Property values have increased in recent years and are comparable with many areas of England and Wales and much lower than those in London and southeast England.
The Isle of Man has experienced the pressure of a shortage of housing for its local population - this is a normal symptom of increasing success for an offshore jurisdiction. The success of the island's offshore financial services sector, together with a flow of wealthy individuals, is driving up house prices.
Local Manx inhabitants form a high (although declining) proportion of the total population of almost 85,000, though by no means do they all benefit from the increasing wealth of the 'offshore' economy. Faced with the prospect of its indigenous population becoming paupers in a land of wealth, the Manx government will eventually have to follow other such jurisdictions in controlling rents and sale prices, or in limiting access to housing for foreigners. The Residence Act 2001 was passed as a contingency with this in mind.
Legislation to make immigration controls more lenient, coming under the Control of Employment (Exemptions) Order 2009, came into effect on 1 January 2010. The new legislation exempts certain employments, mostly temporary and intermittent ones, from the requirement for a work permit. This makes the island an easier place to do business by reducing the administrative burden on employers while at the same time protecting the Manx workers’ interests.
There is a longer exemption period for certain higher level employees of international companies. This is in recognition of the fact that such companies need to be able to move staff between jurisdictions; the exemption period is a maximum of 48 days per year in this case. The exemption does not cover all employments, and is subject to certain conditions./p>
A further exemption category covers persons relocating businesses to the island or establishing a branch or subsidiary of a non-IoM business. In total, 13 types of temporary and intermittent employments are exempted, along with three categories of permanent employment./p>
Work Permit Changes for Non-EEA Nationals/p>
In June 2010, major changes to rules surrounding work permits for nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), or from Switzerland were implemented. The Isle of Man introduced its own Manx points based system (PBS) for migrant workers and students. This is in line with legislation in place in the United Kingdom./p>
Previously, companies wishing to employ people from outside the EEA or Switzerland had to go through the procedure of becoming licensed sponsors. In April 2018, this requirement was abolished. Now, to apply for permission to employ non-EEA candidates, an employer simply needs to submit a request for a confirmation of employment – provided they have not been able to find a suitable local candidate.