Prime Minister Robert Abela has been warning that Malta is “full up” quite a bit in recent days, but he has now clarified that this hardline policy only applies to irregular migrants.
“Unlike [Opposition leader] Bernard Grech, I make a distinction between foreigners who come here regularly, are employed and are paying taxes, and irregular migrants,” Abela told the press yesterday.
“Irregular migrants could have their reasons for crossing the sea but our position is clear that we’re full up.”
Abela’s head of secretariat Clyde Caruana said last October, when he was in charge of the national employment agency, that Malta will require around 10,000 new foreign workers every year if the economy is to continue growing by a rate of 5-6%.
International COVID-19 restrictions have since put a halt to this economic growth although some analysts expect it to rebound in the coming months when a vaccine could be distributed.
Grech’s position so far has been to call for a national conference on migration, both regular and irregular, and population.
“A Labour government brought 70,000-80,000 people to work here but we don’t know how many of them have left, how many of them have stayed and what burden they’ve left on the country,” he said yesterday.
“It seems the Prime Minister doesn’t understand the gravity of this situation. It’s not enough to say you’re proud to be Maltese but we must work seriously.”
“His chief of staff is on record saying Malta needs to bring in several thousands of foreigners to work and we are now suffering difficulties as a result of these people and we dont even know if they’re still here.”
In response to this stance, Abela challenged Grech to speak to employers if he feels there are too many workers in Malta.