Inequality of treatment is being experienced by non-EU nationals who are long-term residents in Malta, the Europen Commission has claimed, announcing the beginning of an infringement procedure against the country.
“Today, the Commission decided to start an infringement procedure against Malta, and has sent a letter of formal notice detailing Malta’s failure to fulfil its obligations under the Long-Term Residence Directive (2003/109/EC),” a statement issued by the EC earlier today said.
“The Directive establishes, in Article 11(1), that long-term residents shall enjoy equal treatment with regard to access to employment, including conditions of employment and working conditions.”
This, the European Commission argued, is being flaunted by Malta, where “non-EU nationals who are long-term residents in Malta to have an ‘employment licence’, which is obtained following an application by the employer addressed to the Employment Licences Unit and has a validity of one year (renewable).”
“Without this license, long-term residents cannot be employed,” the statement continued. “As Maltese nationals do not need such a license to have access to employment, this inequality of treatment vis-à-vis non-EU nationals who are long-term residents constitutes an infringement of Article 11(1)(a) of the Directive.”
Malta has now been given three months to submit its response to the letter of formal notice.
This formal notice is the first step of an infringement procedure, which is aimed at bringing an end to the issue. Here, a Member State is allowed to present its views regarding the breach.
If no reply to the letter of formal notice is received – or if the reply is not considered satisfactory – the Commission will move to the next stage of the procedure, which is the reasoned opinion. If necessary, the Commission will then refer the case to the Court of Justice.
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