The Isle of Man has for a long time been part of the global market in many industries including the financial sector, corporate services and online gambling.
As a result, numerous multinational companies have branches or head offices on the Island and often seek to bring in skilled workers from other jurisdictions as short or long terms staff or for training purposes.
However, in order to do this, where the worker in question is not a British citizen, a Commonwealth citizen with a right of abode in the UK or an EEA citizen then Entry Clearance is required for them to enter and work on the Island.
This article will give a brief overview of the rules on Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Migrants, i.e. where an employer transfers an existing employee to an Isle of Man branch of the same company.
The regulations under the Isle of Man Immigration Rules (as amended) enable multinational employers to transfer existing employees from outside the EEA to Isle of Man branches either for training purposes or to fill a specific vacancy that cannot be filled by a Manx, British or EEA worker.
There are 4 categories available under which a person can obtain a visa for an intra-company transfer:
- Short term staff who are filling a skilled role in an Isle of Man branch of the company for a period of not more than 12 months.
- Long term staff who are filling a skilled role in an Isle of Man branch of the company for a period of more than 12 months.
- A graduate trainee role being a recent graduate recruit who is to be transferred to the Isle of Man branch for a structured graduate training program which clearly defines progression towards a managerial or specialist role.
- A skills transfer for a graduate occupation in order for either the transferee to learn skills and knowledge to perform their job(s) overseas or for the transferee to impart their specialist skills to the Isle of Man workforce.
The categories therefore allow short or long term transfers to an Isle of Man branch for skilled workers where there is no suitable Manx worker to fill the role or for the purposes of training.
There are many requirements for an intra-company transfer and many of those requirements have exceptions but in broad terms an employee who is being transferred must obtain a certificate of sponsorship from their employer (the sponsor) and have an appropriate salary.
For short and long term staff, an employee must have worked for the sponsor for not less than 12 months and this will need to be evidenced.
Graduate trainees need not have worked for the company for 12 months, for obvious reasons, but evidence must be provided that the job is part of a structured training program.
At the date of writing the appropriate salary for short term staff, graduate trainees and for skills transfer is not less than £24,500 per year and for long term staff not less than £41,000 per year. That amount must be basic pay only, however, certain allowances can be made as part of a guaranteed salary package which would be paid to a local settled worker in similar circumstances or is paid to cover additional costs of living on the Island.
An employee must also be able to prove that he or she is able to maintain themselves. The employee must therefore be able to show that they have not less than £945 in their bank or building society accounts. Alternatively, their employer, if they are a Rated Sponsor, can undertake to maintain and accommodate them up to or over the amount of £945. This is not however required if the employee already has leave to remain as a Tier 2 Migrant.
If entry clearance is granted then it will be subject to a maximum period of stay. These are:
- 6 months for a skills transfer.
- 12 months for either a graduate trainee or for short term staff.
- 5 years and 1 month for long term staff.
Long term staff who have entry clearance for 5 years and 1 month may be able to obtain clearance for indefinite leave to remain if they are resident on the Island for over 5 years should they wish to.
There are of course certain stipulations for an intra-company transfer visa. The employee can only work for their sponsor and undertake the work they are sponsored to do subject to any notification of change to the details of their employment.
The employee must have no recourse to public funds – they must be able to maintain themselves.
Finally, in some instances, certain foreign nationals may have to register with the police if they are given leave to remain in the Isle of Man for more than 6 months. This will not be applicable for the bulk of migrants but may be required in some cases, for example where Chinese or Russian employees are transferred to an Isle of Man branch.