All questions

Employer sponsorship

i Working and residing in Malta

As seen in Section III, any person who is not a citizen of an EU country needs an employment licence to be able to work in Malta. EU, EEA and Swiss nationals do not require an employment licence to work in Malta.

These licences are issued to employers wishing to engage foreigners for a determined period and for a specific purpose, after it has been ascertained that every effort has been made to engage a suitable Maltese citizen.

A third-country national may, however, opt to apply as a self-employed worker and, therefore, would not depend on the employer for the issue of the employment licence, since it is the employer who has to apply and not the jobseeker.

To qualify for self-employed status, a third-country national must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. the applicant should invest in Malta capital expenditure of at least €100,000 within six months of the date on which the ETC licence is issued. Capital expenditure shall solely consist of fixed assets (such as immovable property, plants and machinery) used for the business purposes reflected in the business plan submitted with the application;
  2. the applicant should be a highly skilled innovator with a sound business plan, which is to be submitted with the application, and who commits to recruiting at least three EEA, Swiss or Maltese nationals within 18 months of establishment;
  3. the applicant should be the sole representative of an overseas company that holds a sound reputation, has been established for at least three years abroad and wishes to open a branch in Malta; and
  4. the applicant should be a person leading a project formally approved by Malta Enterprise, with formal notice of said project given by the latter to the ETC.
ii Incorporating a private limited liability company in Malta

A third-country national may, therefore, apply for an employment licence after incorporating a company in Malta; the company would be fully owned by the third-country national. Incorporating a company in Malta requires €1,200 in share capital, of which only 20 per cent must be paid up. Companies in Malta are regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) and the incorporation of every company is done under the authority of the MFSA.

Registration and annual MFSA fees depend on the amount of authorised share capital that the company is allowed to issue. Registration fees range from €245 to €2,250, while annual fees payable to the MFSA range from €100 to €1,400. The annual fees are paid yearly with the presentation of the annual return, which states the share capital and lists the shareholders, directors and company secretary.

Documents required

In the case of an application for a new employment licence for a third-country national, the process is as follows. The employer must fill in an application form and submit it to the ETC by hand or by post.

The following documentation needs to be provided at application stage:

  1. an application form;
  2. a curriculum vitae;
  3. a position description;
  4. references or testimonials;
  5. one passport photo;
  6. a copy of any travel documents;
  7. a copy of a valid visa (if the third-country national is in Malta);
  8. a copy of qualification certificates and accreditation or recognition;
  9. a covering letter by the employer indicating the site of work;
  10. the relevant fee;
  11. evidence of the search for EEA or Swiss or Maltese nationals;
  12. a lease agreement; and
  13. additional documents as may be requested by Identity Malta at any time.
The application process

When the application is received, the Department of Citizenship and Expatriate affairs verifies that all documentation is present and that the fee has been paid. If the documentation is complete, the application moves on for processing and is passed on to the ETC. Preliminary verification includes checks as to the existence and operations of the company concerned, and its staff lists as registered with the ETC.

The application is then considered from a labour market perspective and certain verifications will be made by the ETC, including checks with health and immigration authorities, as well as other relevant sector-specific authorities. If clearance is withheld from any of these authorities, the application will be rejected and the applicant informed accordingly. If no authority presents an objection, an approval letter is generated and delivered to the applicant upon collecting the card.

The approval letter must include any conditions that the ETC wishes to add in their labour market clearance. Once the card is issued the applicant will be in possession of an employment licence and a residence permit.