Just under 40 per cent of employees doing shift work and earning a gross annual salary of under €20,000 are foreign, according to answers recently tabled in Parliament to a question on the recipients of a €150 cheque meant to compensate those working atypical hours.
The answer, tabled by Finance and Employment Minister Clyde Caruana in response to a question posed by Ivan Castillo, the Opposition spokesperson on work, shows that a total of 24,616 persons received the cheque, which was distributed in the run-up to Christmas 2022.
Of these, the majority (15,225, or 62 per cent) were Maltese nationals.
Another 2,532 (10 per cent) hailed from a country in the European Union, while 28 per cent were of other, non-EU nationalities.
In total, around 38 per cent of recipients of the €150 cheque were foreigners, a statistic that shines a light on the Maltese economy’s dependence on imported labour, particularly in lower-paying roles.
The number of foreign workers in Malta almost reached 70,000 by the end of 2021, a sharp increase over the 9,500 registered in 2009.
Around 30 per cent of employees in the private sector are foreign nationals.
In the accommodation and food industry, 48.9 per cent are foreign, while 44.6 per cent of construction workers are not Maltese.
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