With the Isle of Man recently announcing a number of ‘Enterprise Isle’ initiatives to continue to grow the economy and boost inward investment (including the introduction of new tax incentives and changes in financial regulation), there is no better time to become a resident in the Isle of Man.
The IOM is inside the Common Travel Area (CTA) which also covers the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands. To reside within the CTA, non-EU nationals need to obtain a residence visa and the two most popular types of residence visas can be obtained within the IOM. These are known as the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa and the Tier 1 Investor Visa.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
An individual from outside the EU can obtain an initial IOM residence visa, for 3 years and 4 months, by investing £200,000 in a new or existing business, which is registered, pays tax and has a bank account, in the IOM. Certain other criteria must be met which include the individual not being absent from the IOM for more than 180 days in any 12 month period.
Interestingly, time spent in other parts of the CTA does not count as absence, therefore if an individual wishes for example, to visit London for the weekend, it will not set the absence clock running. This could be useful as the individual may want to spend 180 days further afield, with say family.
An application to extend the visa for another 2 years can be made provided the individual remains engaged in the business and at least two full time jobs lasting more than 12 months have been created.
After 5 years the individual can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the IOM and this process can be accelerated if the business expands or more jobs are created, more rapidly.
Tier 1 Investor Visa
This is for non-EU individuals who wish to obtain an IOM residence visa by making a qualifying investment. The applicant can obtain an initial visa by investing £2 million in the IOM within 3 months of arrival. Again the initial visa is for 3 years and 4 months and criteria to be met include not being absent from the IOM for more than 180 days in a 12 month period.
If the £2 million has been invested in IOM companies and the money has remained invested throughout the period, then the individual can apply to extend the visa by another 2 years.
Application for Indefinite Leave to Remain can be made after 5 years and again, this process can be accelerated, this time by increasing the level of funds invested.
A spouse and children under the age of 18 can accompany the holder of either type of IOM visas as dependants.
Furthermore, as an additional incentive to Tier 1 applicants, the IOM Government is also considering exempting persons who come to the island under the Tier 1 visa from the requirements to obtain work permits (which are generally required for all non-IOM workers).