Isle of Man: Work Permits

Last Updated: 12 February 2013
Article by   Simcocks

Who requires a work permit?

Work permits exist as a means to protect the Isle of Man working population by allowing employers to employ individuals who are not Manx workers, providing that there are no suitable Isle of Man workers available to fill those specific roles.

In order to take up employment or self-employment in the Isle of Man, anyone who is not an Isle of Man worker must obtain a work permit, although some types of employment are exempt.

An Isle of Man worker is defined as an individual who:

  • Was born in the Isle of Man
  • Has been resident in the Isle of Man for at least 10 consecutive years
  • Has been resident in the Isle of Man for at least five consecutive years having not lived elsewhere more than once within the following 15 years
  • Is married to or in a civil partnership with an Isle of Man worker
  • Is an individual married to or is in a civil partnership with an Isle of Man worker who has lived on the Island for at least three years immediately before becoming widowed, divorced or dissolved and has continued to live on the Island thereafter
  • Is the child of an Isle of Man worker who, at the time of the child's birth, was serving, or married to or was the civil partner of a person serving in the armed forces or other specified services, with the child either born on the island or during service, followed by residence on the Island for at least three years
  • Is a child of a parent who was born in the Isle of Man, provided that their parent lived on the Island for the first five years of their life
  • Has received full time education, either in the Isle of Man or elsewhere whilst normally being ordinarily resident in the Island and continue to live on the Island thereafter.

An application must be made by the employer to employ a non Isle of Man worker to fill a specific job role. In the case of a self-employed person, the responsibility to apply for a work permit lies with that person. Where successful, the permit will be granted for a specified employment and period. An application for renewal can be made if necessary. It is an offence for a non-Isle of Man worker to begin work without a permit, and a new permit is required for any change in employment or employer.


Work permits are not required in any of the following cases (please note this list is not exhaustive):

  • Employment as the Chief Constable, a member of the Isle of Man constabulary, employment in the service of the Crown, a Minister of Religion, a registered dentist; a fully registered doctor; or employment in a diplomatic or consular capacity
  • Employment in a vessel or aircraft
  • Self-employment of a purely cultural nature
  • An officer of an international group in charge of the group's activities in the Island
  • Temporary employment for not more than three days. While the three-day exemption period covers all types of employment it may not be used to cover the first three days of employment of a non temporary nature. Separate periods of connected employment of less than three days are added together, and where the total exceeds three days a permit will be required
  • Employment by a branch or subsidiary being established in the Island of a business carried on elsewhere, or in a business being relocated in the Island or elsewhere
  • Employment in a company which is a member of an international group for up to 48 days a year (when that employee is mainly employed outside the Island)
  • Non-resident, non-executive directors who visit the Island for not more than three days in a calendar month, eg for the intention to attend board meetings.

Permit requirements for non-Isle of Man workers

The permit requirements for non-Isle of Man workers vary depending on a number of factors.

EEA Nationals (Including UK and Swiss nationals)

EEA Nationals require a work permit.

The factors that are taken into consideration when deciding whether to grant a work permit include the availability of suitable Isle of Man workers, and whether the post has been advertised in a way that allows Isle of Man workers the opportunity to apply.

Non-EEA Nationals

Non-EEA nationals require permission to work under a separate system of controls known as the Points Based System because such individuals are subject to control under the Immigration Acts.


Spouses of non-Isle of Man workers are automatically entitled to a work permit which is valid for one year if a permit is granted to their partner. This permit is renewable annually provided that the principle permit holder continues in employment.

Revocation and renewal of permits

An application for renewal can be made by the Employer or by a self-employed person should circumstances necessitate it. Applications for renewal must be made not less than 28 days before the existing permit expires, along with the relevant fee.

Any person aggrieved by refusal or revocation of a work permit may appeal to the Work Permit Appeal Tribunal.


Simcocks has one of the largest and strongest Employment teams in the Isle of Man and is a market leader in the field.

Employment is a fast paced area of law and the team recognises the importance of keeping clients abreast of changes. The Simcocks employment team is highly experienced and responsive with a strong client base. Clients range from multi-nationals to small companies and private individuals. This range allows us to think more laterally as to the solutions we provide. We advise on the full range of employment issues both contentious and non-contentious and have represented a number of employers at the Appeal Tribunal.

In recent times there has been a raft of changes which has brought the Isle of Man in line with UK Immigration Legislation.

For Non EEA Nationals, a points based system of work permits has been introduced in the Isle of Man replacing the previous overseas labour scheme. As a result of such changes, Simcocks has seen an increase in the number of immigration matters and referrals it has dealt with.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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