Third-country nationals have been told to pack up and leave by employers who will not be renewing their work permits over COVID-19 coronavirus fears – or face being declared an illegal immigrant and being deported, Lovin Malta can reveal.
A mailshot sent to hundreds of employees at Staff Services Limited that has been seen by Lovin Malta read as follows:
“Given the current situation in Malta please be advised that we are not in a position to renew your work permit when this is due.”
“We instruct you that you start making your arrangements to buy a flight ticket to return back to your home country since your residence permit will be revoked upon the termination of your contract.”
“We shall inform Jobs Plus with your termination and also Identity Malta accordingly when your work permit will be terminated.”
“I advise that you inform us of your travelling arrangements back to your country.”
Workers were informed that their actions may have EU-wide repercussions as well.
“May I remind you that failing to adhere to these procedures you will risk your status in Schengen for the next 3-5 years.”
“We are being advised by the police that staying in Malta without a residence permit would be staying in Malta illegally, and police will deport you immediately. A travelling ban onto your passport will also be imposed.”
Staff Services specialises in Hospitality staff recruitment. With a two-week mandatory quarantine imposed on all persons coming into the country, the tourism economy has taken a significant hit.
Prime Minister Robert Abela has so far revealed that tourism numbers have dropped drastically, while also introducing drastic measures which have seen all bars and restaurants closed for the time being.
However, Lovin Malta is informed that similar emails are being sent out to third-country nationals living on a work permit in Malta.
There are currently over 13,000 third-country nationals that are registered with Jobsplus.
A massive deportation effort would require enormous resources from the state, while thousands of people will be left unemployed and effectively stranded in Malta.
Economic initiatives to address the potential financial crisis have so far not been well-received by business leaders and unions, though the government has promised to introduce more.