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  • Richard MacNee,

Why not bring some innovation to The Isle of Man?



Image: Richard MacNee, Chief Commercial Officer of The ILS Group Limited
Richard MacNee, Chief Commercial Officer of The ILS Group Limited

The Isle of Man Government is actively looking to increase the population of the island by 15,000 people over the next 5 years. The Government’s Economic Strategy was recently developed to help set the foundations for investment and economic security for the next 10-15 years. The island has several visas available, which many South Africans have already taken advantage of to relocate their business or family here.


The ‘Business Migrant Innovator Visa’ is for entrepreneurial individuals looking to live on the Isle of Man and establish or invest into an ‘innovative’ business on the island. In a bid to increase its economically active population the Government has made the Business Migrant Innovator Visa more attractive than its equivalent in the UK. For example, the number of jobs you are required to create is much lower, there is no National Health Service surcharge, and there is one central endorsing body.


The first step is to prepare a business plan, which shows the business is not only innovative, but is also viable, and scalable. This is then submitted to the Department for Enterprise, which is the sole endorsing body on the island. At this stage you are also required to prove that you hold the minimum required investment of £50,000, together with providing the usual identification document and proof of your residential address. There is an English language requirement of B2 CEFR (IELTS equivalent 5.5 – 6.5), evidence is required to be submitted at this stage.


Image: Old world charm in the picturesque Isle of Man. Photo credit - Roelf Odendaal
Old world charm in the picturesque Isle of Man. Photo credit - Roelf Odendaal

Once you have your endorsement, you can apply for the visa. The visa usually takes about 3 months to be approved by the Immigration Department, the visa is granted for 3 years. One of the key requirements is to create a minimum of 3 full-time jobs, a representative from the Department for Enterprise will meet with you every 6 months to discuss progress against your business plan. For example, they will make sure that you are on target to recruit your first employee within year one.


After the initial 3-year period, provided all criteria have been met, you can opt to extend the visa for a further 3 years or you may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain on the Isle of Man. Visas are also available for your dependents if required.


The Innovator visa offers the fastest route to citizenship and a passport. It also allows you to set up additional businesses on the island. 


Once you have established the business there is easy access to the local business network through organisations such as The Chamber of Commerce, The Isle of Man Business Network, and the Institute of Directors.


The Isle of Man is a great place to live and work, it is a really safe environment in which to bring up your children, one thing for sure is that you will receive a warm welcome from the ever-growing South African expat community.


Richard MacNee, Chief Commercial Officer, The ILS Group Limited


Richard has lived and worked in the Isle of Man since 2006 and joined ILS World in 2011. He works closely with the business development, sales, and marketing teams, as well as the heads of the group's different businesses around the world to ensure consistency in the delivery of services to clients and intermediaries.


He travels extensively to both the ILS group's network of offices and other parts of the world. He regularly attends conferences as a delegate and speaker, visits clients old and new and meets with professional intermediaries to promote ILS World's range of products and services.


Richard has been approved by the Financial Supervision Authority in the Isle of Man in respect of his role as a director, and the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission to act as a director on client companies holding domestic gaming licenses. He also sits as a director of The Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce.


Image: Port Erin in the Isle of Man. Photo credit - Roelf Odendaal
Port Erin in the Isle of Man. Photo credit - Roelf Odendaal

Isle of Man Indaba


The dates and venues for the 2024 Isle of Man Indaba are:


  • Friday, 12 April – Lusaka: CIELA Resort

  • Monday, 15 April – Umhlanga: Mount Edgecombe Country Club

  • Wednesday, 17 April – Sandton: The Maslow Sandton

  • Friday, 19 April – Pretoria: The Capital Menlyn Maine

  • Monday, 22 April – George: Hawthorn Boutique Hotel

  • Wednesday, 24 April – Cape Town: The Vineyard Hotel

  • Friday, 26 April – Bloemfontein: Tuscan Rose


For further information and to book for the respective venues, visit https://iom-za.org/.

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