Some employers in Malta are not paying their third-country workers for months, only to report them to the police to ensure their deportation and avoid paying them, according to an EU report released yesterday.

Therefore, even when victims do file a report to the authorities, they might still not be treated as victims, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights pointed out.

The top three economic sectors in which workers in Malta are at risk of labour exploitation are construction, accommodation and food service activities, and agriculture and fishing. 

Typical situations of severe labour exploitation of workers moving within or into the EU include no salary paid or salary considerably below the legal minimum wage, parts of remuneration flowing back to the employer on various – and often unreasonable – grounds and lack of social security payments.

They also include extremely long working hours for six or seven days a week, very few or no days of leave and working conditions which differ significantly from what was agreed. The retaining of passports and having hardly any contact with nationals or people outside the company also qualify as labour exploitation.