Small number will be affected by new migrant rules

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

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New rules coming into force next year will not affect a large number of the island’s migrant workers, the Chief Minister has told Keys.

The revised regulations will mean from 2016 migrant workers will no longer acquire a right to settle in the island based simply on the amount of time they have spent working here.

‘The impact this will have on the island’s economy and public services is being looked into by the immigration office, however, the numbers affected are not expected to be high,’ Chief Minister Allan Bell told the House of Keys.

A decision made in 2011 to abolish automatic rights to settlement for general migrants takes effect on April 6 next year.

Since 2012 any such migrant workers get an initial three-year visa at the end of which they can apply to stay for a further three years. At the end of the six year period, however, next year’s rule change means they must then return to their home country for a minimum one-year period before they can reapply for a general visa.

From April 2016, general migrants, such as those working as nurses, will only be eligible to apply to settle in the Isle of Man if they are earning more than £35,000. Those earning less than that have to return to their home country once their visa has expired.

Certain workers will, however, be exempt from this minimum earnings rule. These people include ministers of religion, people who are doing PhD-level jobs or people who are employed in shortage occupations.

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