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Work permit plans put on hold as government seeks 'further engagement'

DfE puts brakes on idea to temporarily scrap them due to 'concerns' 

Debate around the future of the work-permit system is being put on hold due to concerns which have been raised.

The Department for Enterprise will no longer ask Tynwald to consider temporarily suspending the permits when the court sits next week.

It says further engagement with ‘stakeholders’ – including politicians and industry representatives - will be sought instead.

The department claims the proposals were drawn up following ‘broad support’ for reform highlighted as part of a public consultation earlier this year.

Enterprise Minister Tim Johnston said: "The department’s consultation and review into the work permit system has been based on the commitment in both the Island Plan and Economic Strategy which make clear the intention to remove barriers to ensure that employers are able to fill key vacancies where they are not able to recruit locally.

"Since the work permit system was created some 60 years ago there have been a number of adjustments with the last reforms being implemented in 2018.

"As with any policy, or system, it is important that these are reviewed periodically to ensure they are still fit for purpose in an ever-evolving economic landscape."

Consistently more than 90 percent of applications for work permits are approved within the same or next working day with an overall approval rate of 99.9 percent over the last five years. 

But the department claims it is clear there are still 'significant perception issues' around the system for new residents and complexity for employers navigating multiple pathways.

Mr Johnston adds that he understands the topic of work permits is one which ‘often polarises views’ and one which can be ‘conflated’ with other subjects such as broader immigration and the right to live on the Isle of Man.

Both of these things, he says, are outside of the department’s responsibilities.

A further update will be provided later this month.

You can read more about what people think about the department's idea to scrap work permits by clicking HERE.

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