Non-EU workers seeking employment in Malta’s tourism and hospitality industry will need to obtain a skills pass starting in May 2024. This program, initially planned for a January launch, and then March, has now been postponed to May to allow for further refinement and address industry concerns.

Delayed launch, increased focus on quality

The skills pass program was originally scheduled to begin in January 2024. However, following feedback from the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association regarding industry preparedness, the launch date has been pushed back to May. It was said that the delay allows businesses additional time to adapt and ensures a smoother implementation process.

Program details and objectives

The skills pass program aims to elevate the quality of tourism services offered in Malta. Starting 8th April, non-EU job seekers can enrol in a mandatory online course covering English language proficiency, customer care, general hospitality practices, and knowledge of Malta’s tourist offerings. This online course, delivered by AI instructors, carries a fee of €450.

Upon successful completion of the online modules, applicants will participate in an online verification interview scheduled to begin 6th May. Passing this interview, which comes with an extra €125 skills pass fee, is mandatory for employment in hotels, bars, restaurants, kitchens, housekeeping, and front office roles.

Government’s expectations and support

The government views the skills pass as a tool to combat “worker abuse” and ensure qualified individuals are hired within the tourism sector. Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri emphasised this point during a press conference on Monday. Similarly, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo expressed optimism that the program will lead to a noticeable improvement in service quality within a few months.

The skills pass requirement is just one step in the employment process. Job seekers must also gain approval from Jobsplus and undergo a police clearance check before receiving a one-year work permit. Additionally, Malta Enterprise, a government economic development agency, will launch a tax credit scheme in April to incentivise local businesses to cover the cost of skills pass training and assessments for their existing non-EU employees.

Non-EU workers in the process of coming to Malta, but have not yet started working their tourism or hospitality industry jobs, will have two months to attain the skills card.

Come January 2026, the skills card will be rolled out to all workers in the tourism industry.

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DOI Photo by Clodagh O’Neill

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