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Work permits 'a barrier' for off-Island workers

Employers welcome proposed suspension of work permit system

Isle of Man employers across a range of sectors are welcoming proposals to remove the requirement for non-Manx workers to need a work permit to take up a job here.

Tynwald is due to consider the change, when it sits later this month, although some members have expressed concerns over the impact it will have on the job market for Island residents.

Enterprise Minister Tim Johnston recently told Manx Radio that local businesses are facing 'critical labour shortages' when trying to recruit.

So, what do those who'll be directly impacted by the move think?

Manx Radio spoke to a number of Island-based firms at this week's Employment and Skills Fair at the Villa Marina - an event which aims to promote the careers options available on the Island.

One hospitality firm believes suspending work permits would give new workers coming to the Island more security.

Palace Group's HR Director Elanna Swinden says hospitality is often seen as a temporary job by Manx workers and believes the proposals would make recruiting from off-Island easier:

Wealth solutions firm Utmost International believes suspending the current work permit system would reduce admin for Manx employers and help boost the population.

Recruitment Lead Matt Shanahan says hiring from elsewhere is currently quite hard and that simply having to notify government of a new worker, instead of applying for a permit, will have a big impact:

However, the construction sector says it's important not to 'flood' the Island with new workers but admits removing the work permit barrier would help the trade.

Construction Isle of Man, a group which represents the building industry here, says it's very difficult to recruit new employees.

Chief Officer Debbie Reeve is calling for balance - she says work permits can be one of a number of challenges for new residents:

The Job Centre says some companies won't recruit workers who need a work permit because their feel it's going to be a problem.

Client Manager Sarah Muller believes the system isn't a barrier to employment on the Island but there is a perception that it is.

In September there were just over 250 Manx residents registered as unemployed but more than 700 vacancies were listed with the Job Centre.

Ms Muller says it's something that can put businesses off a candidate:

Meanwhile, a metaverse and artificial intelligence firm believes making it easier for new workers to come to the Isle of Man will strengthen the economy.

Exarta says it's struggling to recruit to some areas of its business on the Island because it needs workers with specific skills.

Marketing manager Hannah Clayton says bringing in off-Island workers could have its benefits:

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