Over the past months, both the public and the private sector had been calling on the Government to take the shortage of nurses seriously, even more so recently, since the UK was poaching foreign nurses working in Malta.
The Care Home Operators within The Malta Chamber proposed, among other recommendations, the reduction in bureaucracy being met with, when applying for work permits through Identity Malta. The duration of the permit, the substantial cost for renewals and the problems encountered when bringing their spouses and children to join them locally, were amongst the reasons several had decided to leave Malta, creating a huge problem in hospitals, clinics and care homes amongst others.
Following a decision reached between the Government and the Union of Nurses to allow for the provision of a three-year work permit for nurses employed in the public sector, representatives of the Care Home Operators Business Section met with Parliamentary Secretary Hon. Alex Muscat to discuss the application of these provisions to nurses working in the private sector.
Representatives of the Care Home Operators Business Section within the Malta Chamber made the point that the private sector alleviates the burden to the State when offering its services to the population, and many operators are also providing their service to the Government. Removing red tape in support of the public sector alone is unwarranted and will only result in foreign health care workers seeking employment within the Public Health System compounding the problem further for the private sector. Anything but an equal playing field is not acceptable.
The Parliamentary Secretary agreed to further discussion with Identity Malta on the issue of residency permits for nurses in the private sector. He further emphasised the applicability of EU legislation in the field of family reunification while promising to work within this framework to ensure that Malta offers competitive conditions for these workers.