The number of non-EU workers in Malta increased tenfold in a decade, figures tabled in parliament on Monday show.

In 2011, fewer than 5,000 foreigners from beyond the EU's frontiers were working in Malta. The number increased to over 50,000 people by August 2022.

Answering a parliamentary question by PN MP Ivan Castillo, Employment Minister Clyde Caruana said 52,664 citizens from third countries were registered to work in Malta and Gozo on a full-time and part-time basis as of last August.

JobsPlus figures show that in 2011, 4,695 TCNs were working in Malta. That number gradually increased to 14,116 in 2017 and has continued to rise ever since, increasing even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of EU nationals working in Malta also increased, although at a more gradual rate.

7,484 EU nationals were working in Malta in 2011. That number increased to 32,448 in 2021, the last year when JobsPlus figures were published. A dip between 2019 and 2020 is mainly attributable to Brexit, when UK nationals stopped being classified as EU nationals. 

Legal basis for TCN to work in Malta 

Most TCNs need a single work permit to live and work in Malta legally. The work permit expires yearly.  

To receive a work permit, a TCN must first find employment. The prospective employer must then apply for the employee on the TCN’s behalf with Identity Malta. Identity Malta then forwards the application to JobsPlus and the police.  

JobsPlus ensures that no Maltese or EU national can work instead of the prospective employee. Police carry out a background check on the TCN.  

Delays have reportedly marred the work permit process. Identity Malta should process submitted work permit paperwork within two months however many have waited for longer than that, some over six months, Times of Malta has been told. 

TCNs who need a visa to get to Malta have an even longer process.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us