As Malta’s economy continues to grow steadily year on year, we are faced with a severe shortage of labour, and with an employment rate of 71.4% among the working age population, on par with the EU, we are left with no choice but to attract foreign workers to fill this vacuum.
Based on Eurostat and the National Statistics Office, Malta is expected to require 35,000 foreign workers within the next 5 years to sustain its current economic growth rate, and with Malta striving to be the blockchain capital of the world, attracting the likes of Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, amongst others, this is seemingly more than likely. Furthermore, the iGaming industries’ demand for employment is showing no signs of letting up with the UK giant Bet365 totally committed to their expansion in Malta in preparation for Brexit which may see even more companies setting up shop in Malta.
However it is not only these emerging industries that are stretching our local workforce thin. We have also noticed a significant shortfall of workers in the catering, construction and distribution industries with a lack of chefs, front-of-house staff, bar staff, drivers and construction workers to name a few.
While this expected influx of people may put a strain on the local infrastructure, with Malta already being one of the most densely populated countries in the EU, as an employment agency, one of our biggest concerns is the processing of work and residence permits for third-country nationals seeking employment in Malta. JobsPlus and Identity Malta have already improved their response times in this regard with the Prime Minister noting that 3,000 work permits were issued in June alone, the equivalent to the first 5 months of the year, however our clients are still noticing delays in the process.
It is also important to note that although the processing of these permits has been accelerated, companies are still required to promote their jobs locally, if the occupation or sector are not listed in the vacancy exemption list by JobsPlus, before opening applications for third-country nationals to safeguard Malta’s standing with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the EU at a mere 3% compared to the euro areas 8.3% average.
At the time of writing, the sectors allowed to advertise jobs to foreigners immediately are: Healthcare, Technical & Building, IT, Finance, iGaming, and Education.
Sources: Eurostat, NSO, European Commission, JobsPlus, Times of Malta
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