Applications for work permits for non-EU citizens who want to work in Malta will be reopening in the coming days.

Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship Alex Muscat made the announcement in parliament when replying to a question from government backbencher Ian Castaldi Paris.

Work permit applications for so-called third-country nationals had been stopped soon after the outbreak of COVID-19 in line with the closure of the country’s ports and airport.

However, those non-EU workers who had not lost their job had been allowed to renew their work permit while in the case of nurses, doctors, and carers, this was automatically renewed. Muscat said that only those who had lost their job had their work permit terminated.

Asked by Castaldi Paris if the government would be reopening applications in the wake of the lifting of most COVID-19 restrictions and the resumption of flights, Muscat said this would be happening in “the coming days”.

However, he advised employers to consult the health authorities first in case the applications will be received from nationals coming from countries where so far travel to Malta has not resumed.

Replying to a separate question from opposition MP Anthony Bezzina, Muscat said he was also keen to extend the validity period for work permits maybe for “two years or more as long they have a job”. If their stay is longer, third-country nationals would have the opportunity to apply for a residency permit, as long as they have had no brushes with the law, he added. Muscat said this option would be especially considered for certain crucial roles.

Under a legal notice published last Friday, it was announced that the list of 19 destinations opened on July 1, would be increasing by a further 28 countries as from July 15.

Published on Friday, the legal notice effectively lifted the ban on travel to the United Kingdom, Belgium, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, China, Vatican City, Rwanda, Uruguay, Slovenia, Japan, Morocco, Thailand, Tunisia, Portugal, Romania, Lebanon, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Jordan and Liechtenstein.

Incoming travellers from other countries will only be accepted if they have resided in a corridor country for at least two weeks, otherwise travel to Malta will not be permitted.

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