With a population of around 86,000 people, the Isle of Man most likely boasts the highest percentage of South African expats in the world, with figures currently sitting at around 10% of the population, says Marnie Delaney-Parker, director at IOM Opportunities.
Situated between the UK and Ireland, the isle is fifty-two kilometres long and twenty-two kilometres at its widest point, meaning it would fit into South Africa over two thousand times.
Despite this small size, its world-class infrastructure, work, and business opportunities mean it has become an increasingly popular hub for South African businesses and workers, Delaney-Parker said.
“The Isle of Man has its own immigration rules, that focus on attracting businesses, innovators, and needed talent. It excels by not following the ‘normal’ eligibility criteria that so many other popular emigration countries follow, such as the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada who all work under a strict immigration policy making it sometimes difficult to emigrate to.
“The Isle of Man offers worker migrants a real alternative that will not see them being turned away for being too old, holding the wrong degree or not scoring enough points. The migration policy and criteria focus purely on attracting the required skills to fill the much-needed skill shortages areas.”
What are they looking for?
Delaney-Parker said the island faces a skills shortage across many sectors: digital and finance jobs are by far two of the leading sectors, with a huge talent drain leading to employers frequently looking to recruit from off-island.
She added that major South African companies such as Nedbank, Standard Bank, Microgaming and Derivco have all set up homes on the island.
“An increasing number of South African businesses are also making the move to the island. Unlike the more common destinations for relocating as a business owner, entrepreneur, or a startup, the island allows relocation without the typically high investment criteria other countries do.”
“With some of the lowest tax rates in the world, including no Corporation Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax, and low personal tax rates – capped at 20% – it’s the perfect location to start, expand or relocate your business.”
Delaney-Parker added that the island is known for its good work-life balance, amazing schooling, world-class medical facilities, and several recreational options which has led to a surge in people and businesses moving – with South Africans firmly leading the way.
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