A recent survey by the Malta Employers Association found that one in four firms in the private sector reported that more than 50% of their employees are non-Maltese.
Data presented to the House of Representatives showed that over the last decade, Malta catered for a total flow of 190,000 foreign workers. Additionally, Jobsplus reports show how the annual flow of foreign workers increased from 15,000 in 2012 to 97,000 in 2022, including both full-timers and part-timers.
These represented 36% of the 269,000 making up the workforce at the end of 2022, as reported earlier this month by the National Statistics Office.
The debate on capping the presence of third-country nationals has intensified particularly with the Chamber of Commerce proposing a cap on the percentage of non-EU nationals that companies can employ, with exceptions allowed for key economic sectors.
In an opinion piece penned for this newspaper, Joseph Farrugia, Director General of the Malta Employers Association refers to how over the past few weeks, whilst acknowledging the growing signs that the local infrastructure is no longer coping with the population increase, Mr Farrugia argues that the lack of manpower compounded by wide-ranging skills shortages across most of our economic sectors, perpetuates further our dependence on immigrant workers.
He also expresses concern that investments made by employers in the recruitment and training of foreign workers are short-lived, as many do not see Malta as a long-term home.
Data shows that a quarter of foreign workers in Malta engage in temporary employment, and approximately half of the foreign workers who have arrived in the country over the past decade have stayed for just one year.
He added that decisions need to be in line with the economy and competitive advantage we want to promote Malta for.
Photo: Chris Sant Fournier
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