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Call for simpler procedures for employment, residency of foreign workers

Procedures in relation to work and residency applications for foreign workers, especially third country nationals should be simplified, the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and the Malta Employers Association said.

In a joint statement they said that Malta’s unprecedented economic growth led to an equally unprecedented increase of foreign workers actively participating in the labour market without affecting the employment figures of Maltese citizens.

They urged the government to formally acknowledge the opportunity to implement a complete overhaul to the formal work and residency permit application procedures.

“It is imperative that said procedures satisfy European Union directives but also introduce the efficiency and flexibility that Malta’s growing economy desperately requires. The present situation where most employers have reported a loss of business in recent months due to delays in the processing of work and residency permit applications for foreign workers must not be allowed to persist if economic growth is to be sustained.”

They said that as long as work and residence permit procedures were not restructured and realigned to present needs, the demand for such workers would continue to outweigh supply.

They proposed:

1. an average processing time of four weeks

2. a one stop shop for processing work and residence permits

3. a halt to the duplication and repetition of work in extending visas

4. a simplification of the labour market test to employ foreign employees

5. the minimisation of the administrative burden on employers and employees

The two organisations said that the integration of foreign workers had to be regarded as a viable roadmap to sustainable economic growth, particularly in sectors where widening skills gaps among the local workforce exist.

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