Consultation Launched into Work Permit Reforms

17 March 2023

The Department for Enterprise has launched a consultation seeking views on proposed reforms to the Work Permit System in the Isle of Man.

The proposals follow the commitment made in Our Island Plan to consult on further reforms to the Work Permit System, supporting the economic ambitions outlined in the Economic Strategy which seek to remove any disincentives and barriers to employment in order to support targeted positive economic growth.

The overarching principle of the proposals is to temporarily remove the need for work permits to apply across all sectors and all occupations, save for any specific areas where work permits are still determined to be required, enabling the Department to provide unconditional confidence to potential workers looking to migrate to the Island, that they and their family will be able to take up employment and move roles with greater ease.

The proposals further seek to remove the complexity of work permits and existing exemptions as two separate processes. Instead these processes would be consolidated into a single registration process, providing instant confirmation to the employer and importantly to the applicant as well as improving the quality of demographic and migration data to help inform trends and outcomes.

Tim Johnston MHK, Minister for Enterprise, commented:

‘Through Our Island Plan, we have made a clear commitment to reviewing our Work Permit system to ensure it supports our ambition to deliver prosperity for our community, by retaining and expanding our economically active population, and ensuring employers have access to the skilled workers they need to succeed.

‘There is wide recognition that the Island is facing ongoing critical labour shortages across the economy, and industry feedback has indicated that the current Work Permit provisions are still seen as a barrier to recruitment, despite the fact that the vast majority of all applications are processed within a day, and are therefore placing the Island at a competitive disadvantage given the global challenge on skills.

‘Whilst reforms made in 2017 and 2018 improved and streamlined the process, by implementing a single registration process, we are now proposing to further simplify the process for employers during a tight global labour market, alongside aiming to improve the data available to inform appropriate decision making in relation to labour requirements.

‘The consultation which is now underway is designed to ensure any final proposals are fully informed by the community, and reforms are delivered in the interests of Isle of Man workers and our ambition to encourage sustainable economic growth.

‘I would urge businesses and individuals to submit their views to help provide a comprehensive picture of the impact of Work Permits on our community as we continue to work towards delivering a more secure, vibrant and sustainable future for the Isle of Man.’

The consultation and associated documents, which may be downloaded, can be found by visiting the Isle of Man Government’s online consultation hub at

For those unable to access the consultation hub, a paper version of the consultation can be requested by emailing  

The consultation is now open and will conclude on Friday 28th April 2023.