In this article Kinley Legal’s Leah Sizova explains which business ideas are likely to be endorsed for the Isle of Man Start Up and Innovator migration route

Perhaps, over the years, you’ve been developing that wonderful business idea and have now decided that 2022 is the year to implement it – relocating to the Isle of Man and setting up business there!

The good news is there is an immigration route that is an ideal match for you – Start Up and Innovator.

A Brief Overview

The Isle of Man has its own Business Migrant routes, with options for both people with business experience (“Innovator”) and those seeking to establish a business in the Isle of Man for the first time (“Start Up”).

The Isle of Man Business Migrant routes offer significant advantages over the equivalent Start Up and Innovator routes in the UK for those who choose the Isle of Man as the location for their business.

As well as the Isle of Man being an attractive and business-friendly environment with a high quality of life, it has excellent access to UK markets, and the Isle of Man Business Migrant routes are now the flagship routes for business people and job creators wishing to move to the UK area.

The Isle of Man Start Up and Innovator route involves a single endorsing body – the Isle of Man Government Department for Enterprise. The Department is responsible for encouraging inward investment and business migration into the Isle of Man.

The First Step

Start Up and Innovator is one of my specialities, and I find myself discussing people’s business ideas on a regular basis. You may have a great and workable business idea, but we still need to work out whether it has a reasonable chance of being approved and eventually lead you to fulfilling your dream of running a business and living in the beautiful Isle of Man.

As part of the application process, your business idea will have to be set out as a compelling business plan, then be approved by the Isle of Man Government Department for Enterprise. 

In the UK, endorsing bodies can charge substantial mentoring and support fees as part of the price of being endorsed for Start Up or Innovator.

In the Isle of Man, the opposite is true: the Department for Enterprise operates several financial support schemes and incentives for businesses that are new to the Isle of Man.

The Endorsement Policy

The first step is to identify whether the idea meets the requirements of the Endorsement Policy, and is therefore likely to be acceptable for the purposes of Start Up and Innovator immigration.

The Endorsement Policy is flexible, meaning that a wide variety of business ideas can potentially be successfully endorsed in the Isle of Man for the Start Up and Innovator routes. While the endorsing Department for Enterprise has a well-established interest in e-business and technology, it is able to endorse other business ideas, with the clear focus on original ideas and working methods, as well as the potential for businesses to create employment and benefit the island’s economy.

The Endorsement Policy requires that the Department must be satisfied that the business idea must be of benefit to the Isle of Man. This means that originality and market research are always key: a business idea is unlikely to be endorsed if it simply competes with one or more existing businesses in the island.

Innovation, viability and scalability or IVS for success!

In order for your business proposal to be successfully endorsed, the Department will need to be satisfied that the business meets all of the relevant criteria:


You have a genuine, original business idea that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.

Endorsement is not limited to technology and cutting-edge businesses which might typically be considered “innovative” in the normal meaning of the word. Businesses which have been capable of endorsement to date include everything from software development, to manufacturing new products, to providing professional services not previously available in the Isle of Man market.


You have, or are actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business.


There is evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into

new or existing markets.

What’s next?

I hope this article gave you food for thought.

If you are interested in discussing your business idea in light of the Isle of Man Startup and Innovator route, please contact us by e-mail at [email protected], or complete our simple contact form, and we will be in touch to set up an appointment.

We look forward to being part of your journey.

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