The number of people wanting to come and work in Malta more than doubled in 2021, against a backdrop of a labour shortage that threw many companies, especially those involved in hospitality, into disarray. Foreign reinforcements were less forthcoming than many employers hoped, however, with approved applications trailing applications by a large margin.
In its latest annual report, Identity Malta revealed that new applications for employment-related residence permits increased by 120 per cent between 2020 and 2021, from 15,521 to 34,126.
The actual number approved, however, only increased by 11 per cent, from 8,090 to 8,971.
Questions sent to Identity Malta about the low number of successful applicants were not immediately replied to.
Last year, Malta experienced an acute staff shortage that led many establishments to take extreme measures, from restaurants taking the difficult decision to no longer serve lunch or close on certain days of the week to hotels running under capacity.
Aggravating factors included costly quarantine periods and stringent rules related to Third Country Nationals, who must leave the country within 10 days of being dismissed from a job, leaving them with no time to find alternative employment.
European Union nationals do not require work or residence permits in Malta.
Companies had to pay their debts to staff, together with hefty financial penalties
San Ġwann, Saint Paul's Bay and Ħamrun registered the highest number of approved new dwellings during the period
Despite the increase in road traffic accidents, insurance claims decreased when compared to 2022