Residence and Work Permits in Malta
An individual who is not a citizen of a European Union Member State (also known as third country nationals) must be in possession of a work permit in order to work and reside legally in Malta. This requirement emanates from the Immigration Act, Chapter 217 of the Laws of Malta, a chapter dealing with the limitations, control and regulation of immigration relating to Malta.
It is to be remarked that in 2014, as a result of the publication of Legal Notice 160 of 2014, the authorisation for Third Country Nationals to work in Malta is now conducted by means of a Single Permit Application. Primarily, the Single Permit application process was introduced by Directive 2001/98 and consequently it was transposed into our law.
This application is aimed at third-country nationals who wish to both reside and work in Malta. As a result the relevant authorities must produce a single document which is commonly referred to as the e-Residence card, which would thus enable the individual to both work and reside in Malta.
The 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 permit to take up a different job, or to work for a different employer even on a part-time basis. Work permits are, in general, issued for a maximum duration of one year.
Currently, with the exception of citizens from the EU/EEA/Switzerland and their third country national family members or other family members, all foreign nationals who wish to work in Malta need a work permit.
In this respect, it is important to keep in mind that third country nationals need also 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.
Individuals from outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland who submit a Single Permit application are subject to labour market considerations by the Employment and Training Corporation in Malta, also known as the ETC, 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. Third country national’s skill level, relevant experience and overall suitability for the position in question are also taken into account.
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;
- 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).
Posted workers are those individuals who are normally based in another EU/EEA state and who have an ongoing employment relationship with an employer in that state, but who are “posted” for a defined period to Malta. Such workers are exempt from applying for a work permit in Malta. Nonetheless, although the work permit is not obligatory, the firm who is employing the posted worker in the posted state must inform the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations of this particular posting within a time span of twenty-four hours upon the initiation of work related activities by the posted worker. This is done by submitting a Posted Workers Notification online.
Unlike third country nationals, EU nationals are exempt from applying for a work permit to work in Malta. However, it is important to note that the employer is obliged to register the new employee with the Employment and Training Corporation (ETC).
The Maltese e-Residence Card
The Maltese e-residence card was formerly known as the Residence Permit. An individual who plans to take up residence in Malta for a time span of longer than three (3) months is obliged to apply for an e-residence card. Coincidentally this also applies to non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals. The lifespan of an e-Residence card depends on the type of application submitted to the Department. An EU citizen and his family members who have resided legally in Malta for a continuous period of five (5) years may apply to reside in Malta on a permanent basis.
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