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Hopes work permit reforms may bolster health and finance employment gaps

Enterprise minister discusses proposals which will see work permit system removed

​The Department of Enterprise is looking to abolish the work permit system in the hopes of removing barriers to speculative skilled workers looking to move and work on the Isle of Man.

The current system sees those who are based outside of the Island seeking employment required to obtain one.

Candidates are assessed on factors including whether or not there are any suitable Manx workers available in the sector, the level of unemployment in the trade and any likely or social consequences of granting or rejecting the application.

The government department has opened a consultation looking for feedback and concerns associated with the removal of work permits.

It's understood this will be a 'temporary' change and the employment rate will be monitored with the need for work permits reassessed should government feel the situation has changed or evolved.

The move is aimed to complement government's aims of increasing the working population by 5,000 people - a goal its set itself with a deadline of 2037.

Manx Radio's Christian Jones has been speaking with Enterprise Minister Tim Johnston.

The reforms will act as a blanket change across all industries and sectors.  Government say some occupations may still require them, though it's not clear which ones and it appears feedback given from the consultation will assist a decision on that.

However, Mr Johnston says there will still be certain checks in place:

According to the Department, the Island is facing ongoing critical labour shortages across the economy.

The most recent Labour Market report shows 746 vacancies with a 0.7% unemployment rate - the ILO predicts this figure to be 1.7% though.

So is that a critical shortage?

We know the primary reason for having work permits is to ensure residents have access to skilled jobs and those who are able and willing to do them have fair opportunity of securing employment.

Is the enterprise minister confident young people and those headed off to university with the hopes of returning to the Island will still be able to find a skilled job once these are removed for an extended period of time?

​The ambitious goal of increasing the Island's population to 100,000 is often met with questions over where these additional individuals and families will live given the current position of the Isle of Man's housing:

The consultation can be found HERE.

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