Updated – Malta News Briefing – Saturday 11 November 2023

the siege bell memorial at the lower barakka gardens in valletta
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MHRA says post-pandemic recovery stronger than expected

According to a survey conducted by the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association, the post-Covid recovery is anticipated to be more robust than initially forecasted. Tourist arrivals for the third quarter of 2023 are projected to surpass 1 million, exceeding the 2019 figure by approximately 88,000 arrivals. The findings of the BOV-Deloitte Hotel performance survey Q3 – 2023 were presented on Friday. Michael Zarb, Policy and Economics Advisory Leader at Deloitte Malta, reported that, based on estimates for September derived from data provided by Malta International Airport (MIA), tourist arrivals for the third quarter of 2023 are expected to surpass 1 million, surpassing the 2019 figure by around 88,000 arrivals.

Ridley Scott wants to resume Gladiator shooting in December

Director Ridley Scott has expressed his desire to resume filming the Gladiator sequel in Malta at the beginning of December, following a debilitating strike in the film industry. Sources close to the industry revealed that Scott has identified December 4 as a potential restart date for the multimillion-dollar film’s production at Ricasoli, Kalkara. The strike, initiated by Hollywood’s actors’ union against film and television studios, was a response to collapsed negotiations on pay and working conditions. While a breakthrough in the deadlock was announced on Thursday, insiders caution that the agreement remains precarious and could still face challenges. The Malta shoot for Gladiator’s sequel has enlisted the services of hundreds of extras and film crew members to contribute to the follow-up of the original Oscar-winning film. (Times of Malta(

Morning Briefing

Too early to introduce skills card in January – MHRA

Tony Zahra, the President of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association said that there isn’t sufficient time until January to implement the €575 skill cards for non-EU workers. Zahra also asserted that officials from MHRA were only made aware of the government’s plans a day before the public announcement. In the previous month, the government disclosed that starting from January 2024, non-EU workers in hotels, bars, and restaurants would be required to acquire a skills card, priced at €575, to be eligible to work in the sector. As part of the new regulations, third-country nationals seeking a visa for employment in Malta’s tourism sector must undergo an initial skills card assessment before their visa and work permit applications can proceed.

Education Minister refuses to share details of Government proposal to teacher’s union

Education Minister Clifton Grima declined to disclose specific figures following criticism from the teacher’s union, which deemed the government’s proposed wage hikes as “insulting.” Grima faced questions from the press shortly after the Malta Union of Teachers called for a nationwide strike on November 27 due to a pay dispute. The union also announced upcoming directives for its members scheduled to take effect the following Monday. Graham Sansone of the Union of Professional Educators suggested that the proposed increase in teachers’ wages might be as low as two percent. When journalists pressed Grima for details on the government’s offer to raise educators’ pay, he dismissed the suggestion but refrained from revealing any figures, stating, “I will not be providing figures at this moment. It would be premature to discuss numbers publicly during ongoing discussions between the two parties. Perhaps that information will be shared in the future.” (Times of Malta)

Magistrate says Keith Schembri mobile phones were securely stored in Court

Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech, overseeing the money laundering case against Keith Schembri, former Chief of Staff to ex-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, affirmed that the mobile phones submitted as evidence in the proceedings had consistently been securely stored in the court’s exhibits room. This statement from the magistrate came in response to an allegation raised by Schembri’s legal team on the preceding Monday. They contended that his right to a fair hearing had been violated as his mobile phone was purportedly “lost” while in the court’s custody, only to be discovered months later among exhibits in a different case. During a short session in the compilation proceedings on Friday, Frendo Dimech clarified that all electronic devices confiscated by the police during the magisterial investigation into alleged money laundering had undergone examination by forensic expert Martin Bajada. (Maltatoday)

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