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Expats Working in Malta

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: November 2013

Permission to Work

The most important restriction on being able to work in Malta is that most non-residents must have a valid employment licence (i.e. work permit) before starting work. In April 2011, the requirement for an employment licence was lifted for European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens. Employment licences are issued by the Employment and Training Corporation (ETC). Non-EEA citizens are likely to find it particularly hard to gain an employment licence, unless they have invested heavily in a Maltese company.

A further limitation is that, to obtain an employment licence, you must already have a job offer from a company in Malta. You must also possess some skill which is lacking in Malta, and there must be a strong demand for your line of work. Application for the licence is the responsibility of your prospective employer. Once you have been granted an employment licence, you have one month to apply for a residence permit. See Settlement, Residence and Citizenship for more details about residence permits. Employment licences are normally valid for one year, and will only be renewed if there is a proven labour shortage in that area of work.

Another restriction, though not government-imposed, is that to get a job in the public sector or in areas dealing with Maltese people, you are required to speak Maltese. This means that these jobs are effectively ruled out to everyone without a Maltese background. Overall, the best employment prospects are with multinational companies, including those which are based in Malta.


Working Conditions

In general, working conditions in Malta are at a very high standard; they are regulated by Maltese labour laws. Salaries in Malta generally fall between those in Western and Eastern Europe. The cost of living is, however, also lower. There is a guaranteed base 25 days’ annual leave, plus days off for the 13 national holidays, though this only applies when they fall on a weekday.

Generally, a working week in Malta comprises 40 hours. Legally, the maximum weekly working time is 48 hours. Workers are also entitled to 24 days (192 hours) of annual leave. Additionally, they also get to enjoy 14 statutory holidays per year.  Mothers are generally allowed to take an 18-week paid maternity leave, whereas fathers may only take one paid day off and then up to 4 months of unpaid paternity leave. See also the Government website on Family Leave.

In case of illness, employees are entitled to sick leave, provided they can present a medical note. The exact regulations differ from sector to sector. However, in general workers are entitled to up to two weeks of paid sick leave per calendar year, whereby the first three days are paid by the employer and the remainder is covered by the social security insurance.

Salaries vary considerably, depending on the sector, position and region where you work. In general, they tend to be on the lower end of the EU ladder. Maltese law also provides for minimum wage regulations. In 2013, the rate for the minimum wage stands at €162.90 per week.

For more information on working conditions in Malta see the Business First website and the Government Malta website. For other topics about working in Malta, see our Employment and Business articles.




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