Residence & Work Permits in Malta
The Employment License
An individual who is not a citizen of a European Union member state (also known as third-country nationals) must own 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 immigration regulation relating to Malta. 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 commonly referred to as the e-Residence card, which would enable the individual to work and reside in Malta. The work permit is issued regarding third-country nationals who work with a specific employer to perform a particular job.
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 about surpluses or shortages in the given occupation and sector, the employer’s history and status in terms among other things of recruitment and redundancy patterns, business investments and contractual commitments.
The following categories of employees do not need to apply for a work permit 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 published;
- Employees who will not usually 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).
Posted workers are usually based in another EU/EEA state. They 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 licence to work in Malta.
Nonetheless, although the employment licence is not obligatory, the firm employing the posted worker in the assigned state must inform the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations of this particular posting within twenty-four hours upon the initiation of work-related activities by the posted worker.
Unlike third-country nationals, EU nationals are exempt from applying for an employment licence to work in Malta. However, it is essential to note that the employer must 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 period 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 live in Malta permanently.
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