The Employment License
An individual who is not a citizen of a European Union member state (also known as third country nationals) must be in possession of an employment licence (also known as Work Permit). 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 license to take up a different job, or to work for a different employer even on a part-time basis. Employment license 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 an employment licence. Employment licences are also required with regard to persons who enjoy long-term residence status.
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 nationals 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); and
- 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).