Employment licenses are necessary for any non-EU foreigner who wants to work in Malta. Anyone found working without a license faces heavy fines (employers) and deportation (employees).
EU citizens (except for Croatia), member states of the European Economic Area (EEA) and citizens of Switzerland do not require employment licenses to work in Malta, but are recommended to contact the EURES advisors through their portal in order to see what requirements they must meet before entering the country to work.
Non-EU nationals are required to apply for an employment license if they wish to work in Malta. The license must be applied for by the employer, not the job seeker. This means that in order to receive a license, you must already have an employer who wants to hire you. To complicate issues further, the employer must be able to prove that a candidate from the EU, EEA, Switzerland nor a Maltese national is capable of fulfilling the vacancy.
Registering as a job-seeker
If you have residence status in Malta but are not from a member state of the EU (Croatia is exempt), EEA or Switzerland then you must fill out a registration form (ETC 35) as a job-seeker. This does not guarantee that you will be hired nor that you will be issued with an employment license, as only the employer can issue these.
Keep in mind that Malta has a restricted job pool for third country national (TCN) workers. This means that for certain fields (you can check them here), employers must first open the vacancy for Maltese nationals and citizens of the European Union. Should they fail to find someone suitable for the job (after posting the vacancy ad in appropriate portals for an adequate amount of time), then they can extend their search to foreign employees and apply for an employment license on behalf of the candidate.
Documentation required to register
Once you have filled out the ETC 35 form you must take it to Valletta Access / Victoria Job Center, Gozo where you will be asked to provide the following documents:
- ID Card
- NI number
- The registration form (ETC 35)
- Your curriculum vitae or resume if available
- Any certificates you may have
How to apply for an employment license
For a third country national, the employer must fill out an application form and submit it through mail or by hand to the Employment License Unit.
- Application form
- Curriculum vitae
- Position description
- References / testimonials
- One passport photo
- Copy of travel document
- Copy of valid visa
- Copy of qualification certificates and accreditation / recognition
- Cover letter by employer indicating the site of work
- Paid fee
- Evidence through a detailed vacancy report that shows that EEA / Swiss / Maltese nationals were initially sought to fill the position
Other documentation might be required, you can read the guidelines of applying for an employment license on the Employment and Training Center government website.
If the application is rejected, a letter of notification will be sent within 15 days of application. Should the application be approved, it is then sent to the stakeholder concerned who will take approximately four to six weeks to process it. As soon as the license is issued, the applicant is immediately informed and an engagement form is generated stating the first day of the validity of the license.
Renewal of employment licenses
Employment licenses are non-transferable meaning that an employer cannot transfer a license from one worker to the next should the first one leave the job prematurely. Additionally, if an employee decides to leave a job early, their license immediately expires and they cannot work under another employer with the same license.
Employment licenses are usually valid for one year from the date of issue and can be renewed through an application of renewal, paid fee and evidence of payment of insurance and national tax. The application must be sent in 8 weeks prior to the expiry of the current employment license. Should the application be sent in later than those 8 weeks, once the prevailing license expires, the employee is no longer allowed to work until the renewal is resolved.