Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said Identity Malta was simplifying procedures to speed up the process to issue work permits for foreign workers, particularly in the catering and low-skilled work sectors.
Dr Muscat said this in response to a parliamentary question yesterday evening. A number of social partners, including the Malta Chamber, have been urging the government to simplify the process, in order to address the number of gaps in the labour market.
At the end of March there were 37,717 foreign workers registered with JobsPlus, according to Education and Employment Minister Evarist Bartolo. He was replying to another PQ, this time by PL MP Silvio Grixti.
Mr Bartolo said 27,334 were EU citizens while 10,383 were third country nationals. He said that Jobsplus has an inspectorate to root out illegal workers. Whenever it encounters such cases, steps are taken to ensure that these workers are regularised. If this fails, the employers are taken to courts.
Just under 2,000 job market infringements involving foreigners were detected last year alone, according to JobsPlus administrative data. More than half of these infringements were in the hospitality industry, involving restaurants, hotels and other facilities in the sector, while the services, construction and sales industries also had a notable number of infringements.