Malta Raises Work Permit Fees for Non-EU Nationals

Malta Raises Work Permit Fees for Non-EU Nationals

In a significant move, Identità, the government agency responsible for work permits in Malta, has announced an increase in application fees for non-European Union (EU) workers.

Effective immediately, third-country nationals must now pay €300, marking a noticeable hike from the previous fee.

Rising Costs and Challenges

The fee increase, which is up from the earlier €280.50, is attributed to escalating administrative and processing expenses.

A spokesperson for Identità explained, “The sophisticated nature of the cards non-EU nationals carry contributes to the high cost.”

This rise in fees poses a substantial burden for third-country nationals (TCNs), especially those earning minimum wage, as activist Patricia Graham points out.

“For a TCN on minimum wage, this increase means losing four hours of wages or more,” she said.

Broader Impacts on Employment and Skills Cards

In addition to work permit fees, TCNs face other financial challenges.

The introduction of a skills card for workers in the tourism industry, initially slated for January but postponed to March, will cost €575.

With both costs combined, TCNs might end up paying nearly €1,000 for the chance to work in Malta for a year, without any guarantee of approval.

This skills card requirement is expected to extend to Maltese and EU workers in the hospitality sector by 2025.

Furthermore, Active Ageing Minister Jo Etienne Abela has announced a similar requirement for carers in the elderly care sector.

Top Countries of Origin

As of July 2023, Malta hosts 68,755 workers from outside the EU.

The majority hail from India, the Philippines, Nepal, and the United Kingdom, with significant numbers from Serbia, Albania, and Colombia.

These workers, who need to renew their work permits annually, are directly affected by the fee increase.

Navigating New Waters

The recent changes in Malta’s work permit policy, while directly affecting non-EU nationals, also hold indirect implications for EU visitors, particularly as they relate to the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) set to launch in May 2025.

For EU visitors and immigrants, including families, investors, digital nomads, and students, the increased fees and tighter regulations in Malta could serve as a precursor to broader changes in the EU’s approach to managing immigration and short-term travel.

While ETIAS primarily targets visa-exempt third-country nationals for short stays in the Schengen Area, its implementation may signal a shift towards more stringent monitoring and control of immigration across the EU, potentially affecting long-term travelers and immigrants.

A Ripple Effect on EU Immigration Policy

Malta’s decision to raise work permit fees may also reflect a growing trend in EU countries reassessing their immigration policies.

This development could potentially influence the broader context of ETIAS and general immigration policies within the Schengen Area.

With the ETIAS system designed to enhance security and streamline border control, other EU countries might consider similar measures to regulate non-EU immigration more effectively.

Such policies could impact sectors dependent on foreign workers, prompting a reevaluation of immigration strategies to balance economic needs with security concerns.

As Malta adjusts its policies, it might serve as a case study for other EU states in managing the complex dynamics of immigration in a changing global landscape.

Looking Ahead

This development could have far-reaching implications for Malta’s labor market, particularly in sectors heavily reliant on non-EU workers.

The additional financial burden on TCNs may influence their decision to work in Malta, potentially impacting the country’s workforce composition.