by Leah Sizova LL.M, Head of Immigration – Kinley Legal
Over the past few years an increasing number of South Africans have been relocating to the Isle of Man and making the Island their new home.
The Isle of Man has a lot to offer those individuals seeking a diverse lifestyle and looking to benefit from a safe environment, high quality education and a real sense of community.
The many main attractions that pull South Africans to the Island fall under the following categories:
An Island of opportunity
The Isle of Man relies on a tax system based on spending (VAT) and follows a simple personal income tax regime with a maximum rate of 20%, potentially capped at GBP200,000 per year, and no capital gains tax and no inheritance taxes or stamp duty.
To help encourage the right people to relocate, the island offers personal relocation grants — 10% of first year salary capped at GBP10k granted for relocation costs.
The Isle of Man has identified skills shortages in certain key areas, which means that if you find a role in these areas, you can be fast-tracked for immigration and work permit purposes. Key sectors include ICT; e-gaming; accountancy; engineering; nursing and healthcare and secondary school teaching.
With high average earnings and an unrivalled opportunity for career progression, the Isle of Man is definitely worth consideration.
The Isle of Man is known to be one of the safest places in the British Isles. This is down to a strong sense of community spirit and individual accountability, both of which arise from living in a small country.
If it’s an idyllic lifestyle you are after, then the Island offers all the essential elements that so many of us desire in our busy lives.
A work/life balance is the key starting point, followed by the essential everyday elements such as an extremely low crime rate, a high quality healthcare system, an active outdoor and competitive sporting community, excellent education and, of course, fresh air and water.
Although small, the Island still has over 100 miles of coastline which means that one is never too far away to enjoy and take in a spectacular view. Given its northerly location, it consistently enjoys longer sunshine hours than London in summer.
There are also numerous events, clubs and societies which offer a way to meet new friends, make contacts and to find general help. Essentially, a sense of community!
The Isle of Man currently has five secondary schools offering GCSEs and A-Levels and one private school, King William’s College, which offers the International Baccalaureate. All schools offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities.
The island also has its own further education college, University College Isle of Man, which offers a range of vocational and higher education qualifications/courses as well as business degrees. The Isle of Man also provides financial support (subject to eligibility) to its residents to enable them to study at universities and colleges in the United Kingdom.
The Island offers many job opportunities and a good range of employment agencies to help you find your ideal role in the sector of your choosing.
The available options are diverse and allows for a good work-life balance while maintaining focused career opportunities and progression.
The Isle of Man offers many immigration opportunities and is open to innovators, investors, business start-ups, relocating businesses, skilled workers, and those with an existing connection to the Island. This is where Kinley Legal can offer you vital assistance in making the correct immigration choice to suit your circumstances. This will ensure your relocation to the Island is conducted in a smooth, hassle-free and professional manner.
Kinley Legal’s team of expert Isle of Man based immigration lawyers includes a Senior Qualified Isle of Man Advocate, a lawyer who used to practise as a South African Attorney, Qualified English Solicitors and Isle of Man Registered Legal Practitioners. We have particular expertise in dealing with South African clients.
Currently, the most popular Isle of Man immigration routes for South African citizens are:
British Ancestry – if you can prove you have one or more British-born (Isle of Man, UK or Channel Islands) grandparents and are intending to work, this is the easiest route by far although you may still need a domestic Work Permit to work in the Isle of Man. This is a five-year route to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR – permanent residence), and usually six years before you can apply for British citizenship.
Worker migrant (which replaced Tier 2 in 2018) – where you have received a job offer from a qualifying Isle of Man employer (which you do notown or control) which pays a specified minimum salary, which will depend on the role. Some roles are exempt from having to first be advertised to local workers. It is necessary to prove English language ability to CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Again, this is a five-year route to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR – permanent residence), and usually six years before you can apply for British citizenship.
Business Migrant (Innovator) (which replaced Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) in 2020) – for those establishing/taking over a business with an original business plan to meet new/existing market needs. It is necessary to prove English language ability to CEFR level B2 in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Jobs must be created, 1 in the first year, and 3 by the end of the third year. Officially, a minimum of GBP50,000 investment is required, but in practice this route is likely to require at least double that amount to create a viable business. This is the fastest route to ILR, three years, and usually five years before you can apply for British citizenship.
Business Migrant (Start up) – for those establishing/taking over a business with an original business plan to meet new/existing market needs. It is necessary to prove English language ability to CEFR level B2 in reading, writing, speaking and listening. No jobs need be created, and no minimum investment is required. This is a two-year route which does not count towards ILR – however, it enables you to potentially switch to Business Migrant (Innovator) above.
Family and EEA visas – for those joining a partner, or in some cases, a family member who is a British citizen, settled person or EEA citizen in the Isle of Man. This is usually a five-year route to ILR before you can apply for British citizenship.
British citizenship – some people may already be British citizens by descent, by having a parent born in the Isle of Man, UK or Channel Islands. In addition, some people born before 1983 may be British citizens by “double descent”: such cases are rare and require our detailed assessment of your circumstances to determine if this applies.
The Isle of Man routes differ from those in the UK, and in some cases the requirements are easier to meet. It is also cheaper to apply for an Isle of Man visa, as the Isle of Man has no NHS Surcharge.
Please contact us to book a tailored, initial individual consultation. We will conduct an initial assessment and match the most suitable immigration route for you and your family.