Malta has close to 70,000 foreign workers in the country, new parliamentary figures have revealed.
Speaking following a parliamentary question from MP Jason Azzopardi, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana revealed that as of September 2020, 69,919 foreign workers were registered with Jobsplus.
Out of the 69,919 – 38,406 people were third-country nationals, while 31,513 people were from the European Union. The absolute majority of workers reside in Malta. Malta’s population is over 500,000, meaning that foreign workers make up close to 25% of the total population.
The number of foreign workers in the country has increased since 2019. By December 2019, there were 67,596 foreign workers in Malta. The number of workers who are third-country national has increased substantially, jumping up by around 7,000 when compared with last year.
According to a Central Bank report, the average length of stay of foreign workers is 3.5 years, and that remained relatively unchanged since 2012.
Caruana explained that Jobsplus employs several spot checks across a variety of industries, like hospitality, construction, and manufacturing, to ensure that illegalities and abuse are not occurring.
When a person is found working without a Jobsplus permit, action is taken directly with the employer, who could end being sentenced with a crime if he fails to rectify the situation.
In January 2021, Caruana kicked off the process to introduce a new employment policy, asking stakeholders whether a quota on the number of foreign workers should be applied.
Caruana was the mastermind in 2014 of the government’s employment policy, which saw a major influx of foreign workers in the country and a significant number of Maltese workers returning to the workforce.
It remains to be seen what changes will be introduced in the new policy.
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