An Introduction to Work Permits in Malta
A person who is not a European Union member state national, i.e. a third-country national must have an employment license (Work Permit) to work in Malta.
By means of Directive 2001/98 of the 13th December 2011, a single application procedure was introduced for a single permit for third-country citizens to reside and work in the region of a member state. It became mandatory for EU member states to review the procedures regarding the issuance of work permits and residence permits to third-country nationals.
Member states have to adhere to the confines of the aforementioned directive when it comes to the application for a work and residence permit by Non-EU/EEA/Swiss Nationals. Furthermore, a document needs to be issued, which would authorise the holder to work and reside in a member state.
The relative processes have been harmonised by means of the EU Directive concerned. The Directive also lays down a set of rights which the Member States should grant to third-country nationals who are allowed to work on their territory.
What kind of work permit do you need to work in Malta?
The Single Permit
It is to be noted that in 2014, as a result of the publication of Legal Notice 160 of 2014. The authorisation for Third-Country Nationals (foreign nationals) to work in Malta is now conducted by means of a Single Application Procedure for a Single Permit.
Whereas before, third-country nationals wishing to work in Malta were required to submit an application for an employment licence to the Employment and Training Corporation (ETC) now Jobsplus and also required to apply for a residence permit (residence card) at the Department for Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs for the said authorization, now one comprehensive application is submitted to the Department for Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs.
The Malta single application for a single permit is typically submitted by the third-country national and must be endorsed by the employer/prospective employer. There is the option for the third-country national to have his application submitted once abroad. Once preliminarily approved, the applicant would be invited to come to Malta for biometrics and to complete the application process.
Who needs an Employment License?
All EU/EEA/Swiss nationals as well as their eligible family members (spouses and children), even if the latter are non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals do not require any employment licences to work in Malta.
Additionally, the Single Permit procedure shall not apply to third-country nationals who:
Are family members of EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who have exercised, or are exercising, their right to freedom of movement;
Are posted workers;
Have applied for admission, or have been admitted to Malta to work as intra-corporate transferees;
Have applied for admission, or have been admitted to Malta as seasonal workers or au pairs;
Are authorised to reside in a member state on the basis of temporary protection or have applied for authorisation to reside on that basis and are awaiting a decision on their status;
Are beneficiaries of international protection;
Are beneficiaries of protection in accordance with national law or practice, or international obligations, or have applied for protection in accordance with national law or practice, or international obligations, and whose application has not given rise to a final decision;
Enjoy EC long-term resident status in a member state, including Malta, or the European Union;
Had a suspension for reasons of fact or law;
Have applied for admission, or who have been admitted to Malta as self-employed workers;
Have applied for admission, or have been admitted as seafarers for employment or work in any capacity onboard a ship, which is registered in or sailing under the flag of a member state;
Have been admitted to Malta for the purpose of studies in accordance with the provisions of the Conditions of Admission of Third Country Nationals for the purposes of Studies Regulations;
Have been authorised to work in Malta for a period not exceeding six months; and
Are allowed to work in Malta on a visa basis.
How do you get a work permit in Malta?
The process for obtaining a single permit is lengthy and takes around four months from the date on which the application was lodged.
Employers have to prove, unless the employment in question falls within the vacancy exemption list, that they have tried to fill the job vacancy with persons from Malta or EU/EEA countries/Switzerland, before submitting an application for a prospective TCN employee.
Each application must be followed by copies of vacancy adverts and a covering letter from the Employer who is required to state a reason for employing the TCN applicant.
For regulated professions, approval from the respective Regulatory Body needs to be presented with the application, showing that the TCN is allowed to practice the said profession.
Private health insurance cover (hospital plan) is one of the requirements for an employment licence. This is usually taken out by the employer to cover the full duration of employment.
Submitting the Work Permit Application
Applications may be submitted either whilst the third-country national is residing in Malta or whilst s/he is abroad, provided that, if the person is in Malta or the EU, she or he is residing legally.
The Director shall adopt a decision on the complete application, as soon as possible, and in any event within four months from the date in which the application was lodged. This time limit may be extended in exceptional circumstances linked to the complexity of the examination of the application.
If the information or documents in support of the application are incomplete, the Director shall notify the applicant in writing.
Applications may be rejected if the additional information or documents are not submitted within the deadline.
What is the Cost of a Work Permit Application?
The fee for a single permit application is €280.50. The fee must be paid when the single permit application is submitted
If the application is refused, there is no refund of the fee.
Third-Country National residing/not residing in Malta
It is strongly suggested that, once a job offer is in hand from a Maltese employer, the third-country national, whether residing in Malta or not, seeks professional guidance from an audit firm in order to apply for the work/ residence permit.
As the work permit would need to be applied by the employer, the applicant should ideally contact his employer to be given advice by the professional firm about:
The documentation to be submitted,
The time frames regarding the Malta work permit process,
The notification of the decision regarding a Single Permit Application; and
The necessary fees for the application and issuing of the work/residence permit.
If the third-country national is residing legally in Malta, the application has to be submitted for biometric data to be captured.
If the third-country national is residing abroad, the application and all relative documentation may be submitted on behalf of the third-country national. If the application is acceded to, s/he will be notified of the outcome. The third-country national would then be required to come to Malta for biometric data capturing and to complete the process.
The applicant is then issued with the residence permit in question.
The Maltese e-Residence Card
An individual who intends to take up residence in Malta for a time period of longer than three (3) months is required to apply for an e-residence card.
Coincidentally this also applies to non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals.
The time-frame of an e-Residence card depends on the type of application submitted to the Department.
EU nationals may apply for the e-Residence card under the following grounds and fill in the corresponding forms:
Economic Self Sufficiency – CEA Form J
Study – CEA Form M
Employment/Self Employment – CEA Form A
Family Members – CEA Form F
Permanent Residence – CEA Form P
On the other hand, a few of the grounds which may be availed of by non-EU Nationals include the following:
Employment/Self Employment- CEA Form C
Family Members- CEA Form G
Economic Self Sufficiency- CEA Form K
Students- CEA Form N
Temporary- CEA Form O
Long Term Residents- CEA Form L
Rights of the Third Country Nationals
The EU Directive mentioned above gives certain socio-economic rights, enjoyed by nationals of member states to persons who have been admitted for the purpose of work, whether under the single permit procedure or on other grounds. Malta has implemented such provisions, and hence, third-country nationals working in Malta will enjoy the same treatment as Maltese nationals as shown hereunder:
Working conditions, including pay and dismissal as well as health and safety at the workplace;
Freedom of association and affiliation and membership of an organisation representing workers or employers of any organisation whose members are engaged in a specific occupation, including the benefits conferred by such organisations, without prejudice to the national provisions on public policy and public security;
Education and vocational training;
Such equal treatment shall apply only to third-country workers who: are in employment; have been employed: or are registered as unemployed in Malta and shall not:
Include study and maintenance grants and loans or other grants and loans;
Be given to third-country nationals who have been admitted to Malta in accordance with the provisions of Conditions of Admission of Third Country Nationals for the purposes of Studies Regulations.
With respect to access to university and post-secondary education and to vocational training, which is not directly linked to the specific employment activity, the specific prerequisites in national legislation shall apply;
4. Recognition of diplomas, certificates, and professional qualifications in accordance with Maltese legislation;
5. Branches of social security as specified in article 23 (e) of the Regulations regarding the single permit applications (Legal Notice 160/2014);
6. Tax benefits, in so far as the worker is deemed to be resident for tax purposes in Malta. Provided that such equal treatment shall apply to cases where the third country workers situation of residence is the same as that obtained for a Maltese national in the same situation;
7. Access to goods and services, and the supply of goods and services made available to the public, excluding access to housing; and
8. Advice services afforded by employment offices.