Limiting work permits for foreigners keeps Manx people employed

The government’s move to tighten up on the issue of new work permits in low skilled sectors has helped to keep unemployment down, according to the latest economic report to the Council of Ministers.

The report – covering the first quarter of the year – notes that the Island’s unemployment rate of 2.2% at the end of March (since reduced) compared favourably with the UK rate of 6% and the EU average of 7.5%.

It observes: ‘The announcements by the Department of Trade and Industry (now the Department of Economic Development) in February and March 2009, concerning targeting work permit refusals towards new arrivals to the Island in five low skilled sectors where there is a clear availability of suitable Isle of Man workers, continues to limit local unemployment.’

In the 12 months to the end of March 2010, 8,577 work permits were issued, compared to 9,174 during 2009. The report points out that in the five sectors – retail, hospitality, wholesale distribution, construction and office administration – permits are being issued for shorter periods, inflating the total.

It adds: ‘In reality the numbers of people who have work permits has fallen more than these numbers would suggest.’

The quarterly report states: ‘The Department of Economic Development continues to monitor the number of jobseekers alongside the number of vacancies in all sectors, and will continue to react appropriately if the employment situation deteriorates.’