The global pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented situation for some employers in Malta. Despite having successfully invested in applications for third country nationals to work in Malta, the time frame for some of these workers to make it to the Maltese islands has expired, due to restrictions on cross-border travel.
Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship and Communities Alex Muscat announced that Identity Malta has acted on this situation and provided employers with two possible options, to help ease the burdens of temporary, external border restrictions.
Employers in Malta may either apply for a six-month extension for the applicant in question to make it to Malta, or receive a credit note for every application, that must be redeemed within six months.
By means of this move, Identity Malta is investing €1.4 million. This decision comes after another extension which was granted last August. Third country nationals who had been granted permission to work in Malta before March 2020 had already been granted six months of additional time to make it to the Maltese islands.
Should the concerned applicant opt to not travel to Malta to take up his/her prospective employment, the employer may apply for a refund in the form of a credit note for the full amount paid with respect to that application. This also applies to successful applicants who were issued with an approval in principle and whose application was received prior to 31st March 2020.
“Having a flexible and practical attitude provides our businesses with the necessary breathing space, both in terms of finance and in terms of stipulated time-frames", said Parliamentary Secretary Alex Muscat. He added that a single application costs an employer approximately €300, and oftentimes, an employer applies for more than one such permit. “We are committed to help businesses during these trying times. This move is a clear indication that we do not want employers to bear the cost for factors that are beyond their control", said the parliamentary secretary.
Identity Malta CEO Anton Sevasta, explained that employers will be notified of their options by mail and the decision must be communicated with Identity Malta within 15 working days. He emphasised that the necessary security checks and verifications of the applicant's suitability will still be carried out. Mr Sevasta commended his team members at Identity Malta for their flexible attitude in adapting to the situation.
Parliamentary Secretary Alex Muscat and Anton Sevasta were addressing a stakeholders' meeting, attended by the General Workers' Union, the Malta Chamber of Commerce, the Malta Chamber of SMEs and Malta Developers Association, the Malta Hotels and Restaurant Association, and the Gozo Business Chamber.