Nick Preskey, Inward Investment Manager at Locate Isle of Man, discusses what key considerations relocating individuals and businesses need to take before making the move from South Africa to the Isle of Man.
Having relocated to the Isle of Man with my family some years ago, I have first-hand experience of what it’s like to move country. The transition can be a challenging and daunting one for all involved; so myself and the team at Locate Isle of Man (many of whom are former relocators), are always happy to provide a helping hand to those in the same situation – ensuring their move is as smooth as possible.
The Isle of Man Economy
The Isle of Man has a well-established and diverse economy, consisting of a huge range of sectors. The Island is home to an award-winning financial and professional services sector, and is a renowned digital centre of excellence, with several leading eGaming global groups headquartered here. The Island’s digital sector has spearheaded a number of exciting and innovative industry initiatives including Blockchain, cryptocurrency, the Internet of Things, and latterly esports.
The association between the Isle of Man and South Africa within the Island’s business community is a longstanding one. Many Isle of Man businesses have a presence in South Africa, including Nedbank, Standard Bank, Microgaming and Sovereign Trust to name but a few – with the Isle of Man boasting the highest percentage of South African expats in the world, with figures currently sitting at around 10% of the population.
Finding a Job
If you’re sold on the Isle of Man lifestyle, then the first thing you need to secure before making your move is employment. In most cases a job offer will be required for you to complete the immigration process, so exploring the current available vacancies and applying for roles which suit your skillset is worthwhile as soon as you know you are ready.
The Locate Isle of Man website operates an online jobs board showcasing a number of current vacant positions and is updated daily. The Locate Isle of Man Talent Portal, an online skill-matching platform, is also a useful tool for anyone interested in relocating to the Isle of Man for work.
If you would like help finding the right job for you, there are a range of experienced recruitment agencies in the Island who are well placed to share tailored vacancies based on your skillset. Some sectors and employers in the Isle of Man also offer financial incentives to relocating individuals – so I would recommend you do some research beforehand, to see if there are any incentives or relocation packages available within your profession.
Relocating from South Africa – the Immigration Process
If you’re hoping to move from outside of the Common Travel Area (which includes the UK, Ireland, and Channel Islands) you will need to think about the immigration process. The Isle of Man offers a number of visa options both for individuals and businesses looking to relocate, and each of these has different criteria for acquirement.
The Isle of Man Government’s Department for Enterprise is incredibly accommodating of businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs relocating from outside of the CTA; offering a range of focused support to make the journey as easy as possible. For those looking to establish or scale up an existing business on the Isle of Man, the Business Migrant Visa is an immigration route which can make this possible. The Department also operates a range of financial support schemes for relocating businesses looking to grow and develop their proposition on the Island.
Finding somewhere to live
Once you have all your documentation sorted, you can then start to decide where you would like to live and find a property which suits your needs. Prospective residents will find a diverse range of properties situated across the Island, including apartments, bungalows, traditional terraced, semi and detached houses as well as quaint Manx stone cottages and large premium country and coastal properties.
There are a number of estate agents who are very experienced in the market and are well placed to help you search for your dream home. Having worked with other relocaters in the past, they often find it best to rent somewhere first so you get a feel for the town or village before making a purchase. The Isle of Man operates an open property market with no property restrictions for prospective residents.
If you are relocating with a family, the school catchment areas will also be a consideration for the area you choose to call home. The Isle of Man has a well-regarded education system, with high standards of teaching, with the head teachers happy to accommodate any questions and conduct virtual tours for prospective students and parents.
Planning and making your move
Arguably one of the more stressful elements of a relocation, is the physical logistics of moving everything to your new home. There are many considerations to make at this point and the best thing to do is try to get as organised as you can.
One of the most frequently asked questions I get is whether people will be able to buy everything they need in the Island; and the answer is yes. The Isle of Man has furniture stores, hardware stores and food shops which you will be able to visit when you arrive to get some essentials. Larger UK based retailers will also deliver to the Isle of Man if there is something specific you want to have delivered.
The Island has relocation companies which specialise in helping people plan and execute their move to make the transition as smooth as possible, and can provide a number of services once you arrive to help you settle in.
If you have questions about anything mentioned in this article or would like signposting to a particular piece of information, myself and the Locate team are always on-hand to answer any queries and help point you in the right direction. Feel free to drop me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Locate Isle of Man forms part of the Isle of Man Government’s Department for Enterprise. Their vision is to promote the Isle of Man as an attractive destination where people choose to live and work and where businesses and entrepreneurs choose to locate and invest, finding the workers they need to drive the Island’s economic growth and diversification.
The Locate Isle of Man website is an online resource that provides a wealth of information for those considering a relocation to the Isle of Man.