Residence and Work Permits in Malta

New Guidelines on the Issuance of Employment Licenses in Malta

20 Aug 2015

5 min read

Employment and Training Corporation (ETC) has recently published new guidelines on employment licenses (also known as the work permits) issued with respect to Third Country Nationals who wish to reside and work in Malta.

In this respect, it is important to keep in mind that Third Country Nationals need to be in possession of a valid visa before entering Malta, although some Third Country Nationals (i.e.: such as the Serbian nationals) are allowed to stay in Malta without being provided with a Visa for a set period of time (i.e.: Serbian individuals need to apply for a Visa only if they wish to stay in Malta for more than 90 days).

Third Country Nationals must apply for a visa in their respective countries and in particular at the diplomatic mission or consular post which issues visas in representation of Malta.

What is a work permit?

The single work application encompasses two procedures in one, that of a work permit and that of an e-residence card, granting temporary residence based on the employment of the individual.

In this respect, it is important to keep in mind that a work permit is issued in respect of Third Country Nationals who work with a specific employer to perform a specific job. Therefore, the employee cannot use the license to take up a different job, or to work for a different employer even on a part-time basis. All employment licences are, in general, issued for a maximum duration of one year.

Applications can be submitted either whilst the Third Country National is residing in Malta or whilst s/he is abroad.

Who needs an employment license?

All foreign nationals require authorization to work in Malta, with the exception of:

  • citizens from the EU/EEA/Switzerland their family members (i.e.: the spouse, the direct descendants who are under the age of 21 or are dependents, and those of the spouse, the dependent direct relatives in the ascending line and those of the spouse); or
  • other family member (i.e.: a person who, irrespective of his/her nationality, in the country from which he/she has come, is a dependent or a member of the household of the Union citizen having the primary right of residence, or a person who, for serious health reasons, strictly requires personal care by the Union citizen, or the partner with whom the Union citizen has a durable relationship).

At present, applications for an employment license in respect of citizens from Croatia are subject to transitional arrangements.

Who does not need a work permit?

The following categories of employees do not need to apply for a work permit in order to reside and work in Malta:

  • family members of Union citizens, EEA/Swiss citizens who have exercised, or are exercising, their right to free movement;
  • posted employees for as long as they are posted (i.e.: workers who have an employment relationship with an employer based in an European country other than Malta, but who are sent to work in Malta for a set period of time);
  • employees who will not normally or habitually be carrying out work in Malta, such as seasonal workers or au pairs (i.e.: at present, “normally and habitually working and residing in Malta” means half the requested duration of the employment license);
  • foreign national non-resident and non-executive directors (directors who do not ordinarily reside in Malta, who do not have an employment relationship with the company and who may be in receipt of a director’s remuneration but not in receipt of a salary).

Applying for a single work permit

The Department of Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs (hereinafter referred to as the “DCEA”) is legally responsible for the processing of applications with respect to work and residence permits and thus, the Single Permit Application needs to be submitted to this Authority.

However, the related process is conducted by means of internal arrangements between ETC and DCEA.

The applicant has to fill in the relevant application form which needs to be duly signed by the same applicant and endorsed by the prospective employer.

We would be pleased to assist you with this process.

What are the timeframes involved?

If incomplete, the application is returned to the applicant. If documentation is complete, the application moves on for processing.

In respect of Third Country Nationals who are eligible for a single permit application, the application is first considered from a labour market perspective. In this respect, many aspects to labour market are taken into consideration, including the national situation with regard to surpluses or shortages in the given occupation and sector; the employer’s history and situation in terms inter alia of recruitment and redundancy patterns; business investments; and contractual commitments. The Third Country National’s skill level, relevant experience and overall suitability for the position in question are also taken into account.

If the application is not accepted, a rejection letter should be issued within fifteen (15) working days from the date on which the same application has been submitted.

If the application is accepted from a labour market perspective, it will be referred to other stakeholders for views. If no objections are received from the stakeholders concerned, the Corporation will proceed to issue the licence.

Generally, feedback from stakeholders, such as ETC and the Health Department, may take four (4) to six (6) weeks to reach Identity Malta. In view of this, the work permit is normally issued by Identity Malta in approximately three (3) months from the date on which the single-permit application has been submitted.

For further information about how GVZH Advocates can help you with your single application, Employment Law and/or Industrial Relations requirements kindly contact us here.