FAQs Identity Malta

The Malta Employers’ Association has voiced the concerns of many companies in employing third country nationals, and the problems they are facing in extending such contracts. MEA has been in touch with Identity Malta and, following consultation with its members, has forwarded a set of questions which address many issues that are being encountered by employers.

These questions were published Monday 20th July 2020.

1. When will ID Malta start accepting new single work permits?

Identity Malta Agency is engaged in discussions with its stakeholders, including the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, Jobsplus, health authorities and Malta Police Force Immigration Section, in order to start reaccepting new single permit applications from 3rd August 2020.

All new single permit applications will be rigorously assessed by Identity Malta and its stakeholders, taking into consideration the latest labour market testing and applicable legislation.

Once new single permit applications reopen, approvals will be granted without prejudice to:

–          any further approval that may be required by the Maltese Health Authorities in order for the applicant to be able to proceed to Malta (as per Legal Notices 244, 255, 280 and 290 of 2020, and/or any subsequent related LN which may be issued by the Health Authorities);

–          any visa requirements especially if the applicant originates from a country where there is no facilitation yet for the issue of visa;

–          any restrictions regarding travelling to Malta imposed by member states through which the applicant would need to transit in order to reach Malta.

2.  When are visa centres expected to open again?

The reopening of visa centres highly depends on the general health situation in the concerned countries, whereby, both consulates and external visa service providers would need to be in a position to operate in line with any current or future EU recommendations as well as local Health Authorities regulations.

3.  What to do in case your visa has expired?

Applicants who were notified to proceed to Malta and were granted a visa from a Maltese mission abroad, which has now expired, will need to resubmit a new visa application. Such applications may be acceded to if it is possible to travel to Malta again, the employer declares that s/he still wishes to engage the applicant and there are no new restrictions imposed by the Health Authorities which may impede travel to Malta.

Applicants who originate from a country where there is no Maltese mission are required to seek the Central Visa Unit’s authorisation to travel to a Maltese diplomatic mission so that they can resubmit a new visa application if their original visa has expired. On the other hand, applicants who originate from a country which has a Maltese mission present may proceed directly in order to resubmit a new visa application, provided that the Maltese mission has resumed with normal operations.

4.  What will happen to permits issued before March 2020? Approval letters issued before airport lockdown are now expired – what is the process to get them re-issued? Will there be an extension or refund?

Following further discussions, Identity Malta Agency will be issuing new letters with extended dates to successful single permit applicants who are still abroad and whose letter of approval in principle has expired.

This is without prejudice to:

–          any further approval that may be required by the Maltese Health Authorities in order for the applicant to be able to proceed to Malta (as per Legal Notices 244, 255, 280 and 290 of 2020, and/or any subsequent related LN which may be issued by the Health Authorities);

–          any visa requirements especially if the applicant originates from a country where there is no facilitation yet for the issue of visa;

–          any restrictions regarding travelling to Malta imposed by member states through which the applicant would need to transit in order to reach Malta.

5.  How can family members and other third-country nationals in possession of a temporary residence permit which has recently expired, return to Malta?

If such persons originate from safe corridor countries and require a visa in order to be able to travel to Malta, then they will need to reapply once again for a new visa once service has resumed at the Maltese missions abroad. Such applicants should send an email to the Central VISA Unit on [email protected] in order to seek their authorisation.

This is without prejudice to:

–          any further approval that may be required by the Maltese Health Authorities so that the applicant can proceed to Malta (as per Legal Notices 244, 255, 280 and 290 of 2020, and/or any subsequent related LN which may be issued by the Health Authorities);

–           any visa requirements especially if the applicant originates from a country where there is no facilitation for the issue of visa;

–          any restrictions regarding travelling to Malta imposed by member states through which the applicant would need to transit in order to reach Malta.

6.  Is Identity Malta considering the possibility of doing first time Single Work Permit as online applications as well for those who are already in Malta and not just abroad?

Identity Malta Agency has invested in such a system and this facility is already available.

Applicants will be able to submit a single permit application online via https://singlepermit.gov.mt/ once the employers has registered on [email protected] and s/he has initiated the application process. Employers encountering difficulties using the online single permit platform should send an email to [email protected]  

The online platform also accepts renewals as well as change in employment applications.

7.  How long does it take to issue ID Cards?

ID cards are only issued to Maltese citizens, which are processed in a matter of days.   

The process to apply for a single permit emanates from EU Directive 2011/98/EU and under normal circumstances, where the need for additional security checks or verifications on the applicant’s suitability does not arise, the average processing time takes between six to eight weeks, which falls well within the four months’ timeframe stipulated by the said EU Directive.

8.  If the duties/tasks of the employee changes (from the original job description posted) during recruitment process, and this is then reflected on the employment contract – does this impact the application process for single work permit?

It is imperative that the work contract and job description match. When processing a single permit application, Identity Malta refers to its stakeholders in order to carry out the necessary checks and verifications, hence any changes should be reported prior to issuing the card. Such applicants would need to apply under change in job (C3, C3.1, C3 KEI or C4, C4.1, C4 KEI).

9.  Can employers have an agreement with ID Malta to apply for a 3-year permit with new application in cases of 3yr definite contracts for employees deployed from the mother company abroad? If yes, what supporting documents are required?

No, new applications are accepted for a definite period of one year.

10.  On what basis are TCNs given ‘temporary authorisation to work’ when receiving the blue paper?

In accordance to Subsidiary Legislation 217.17, a third country national may submit an application whilst he is still abroad or is legally staying in Maltese territory or that of another Member State. Only once the applicant’s request has been successfully processed, and all necessary verifications and assessments were carried out by Identity Malta, Jobsplus and Immigration Police, can s/he proceed to Malta provided that s/he has the necessary authorisation to enter Schengen territory. During the interim period between the person’s date of arrival and the issue of the residence permit in a card format, a temporary authorisation to work is granted by means of an ad hoc document once the applicant has finalised his/her application in Malta and had his/her biometric details captured.

Applicants who are already in Malta and have an approval in principle for their new, change in job or renewal application will also be issued with a Temporary Authorisation to Work after having their biometric data captured.

This temporary authorization to work is granted on the provisions that the originally endorsed employer shall submit an engagement form to Jobplus within seven days from the issuance of the said interim permit in order to regularise his/her employment. Should the implied conditions of the temporary authorization to work be breached, the permit will be revoked.

11.  Do full-time employees that possess a single permit are also covered to work part-time extra?

No. They have to apply for a part time employment license with Jobsplus.

12.  In the portal, there are 2 sets of documents – Obligatory Documents and Optional Documents. Are all documents under “Additional Documents” mandatory or are some optional?

All necessary documentation needs to be submitted online by either the employer or the employee him/herself. Any required additional documents can be uploaded at a later stage, or as requested.

Renewals

1.  Can renewals still be done online or else the employees have to go there personally with the documents just as it was before the Covid-19?

Renewals applications are only being accepted online and these have to be submitted by the employer him/herself.

2.  Can a TCN employee continue working while employer is waiting for ID Malta to process the renewal application?

Yes, applicants may continue to work while their renewal application is being processed provided that their conditions of employment have not changed. It should be emphasized that renewal applications should be submitted in due time before the document’s expiry and should the permit expire, the applicants are advised to keep a copy of the Interim Receipt.

3.  Expiry of Contracts – will Identity Malta allow employees to renew permits if changed from full-time to part-time basis (for contracts below €30,000)? If yes, what is the procedure?

If the employee earns at least a minimum wage with a contract of more than 6 months s/he can apply for a single permit. If the employment period is under six months, then applicants would need to apply for an employment licence with Jobsplus and are then issued with a residence permit to reflect the said authorization of work.

4.  Are there any distinction made between a TCN coming to Malta seeking employment for the first time and a TCN who has been in Malta for a number of months, has successfully completed his studies, is already employed, has proven to be a good employees, pays NI and Income Tax and therefore is a contributor to our economy? (employee was part-time and will now be full-time).

Third-country national students who have successfully completed their course of studies at Level 5 upwards are, by means of existing legislation, provided with a residence permit for job seeking activities and can apply for full-time employment provided that they submit proof that they have successfully completed their course of studies. Such applications will still be Queries for Identity Malta subject to the labour market testing. Other third country nationals do not enjoy any job-seeking facilities.

5.  Identity Malta is insisting that renewals should do their medicals in Malta, while they are stuck in Nepal. This is leading to their present license to expire and then companies would have to start all over again i.e. VISA application form other countries and the rest. Can this be temporary waived?

In line with Health authorities’ recommendations, medicals have to be done in Malta. Applicants who are stuck abroad would need to submit a new online application (Still Abroad).

6.  What happens if an application is still showing ‘in progress’, and the permit expires end of June?

In such cases, Identity Malta Agency is issuing interim receipts by post until a final decision on the application is taken.

7.  Due to the present situation, some companies in the hospitality industry are renewing definite contracts for 3 months. This is being done in order to safeguard the company while still keeping the employees in employment. At present, Identity Malta does not accept a 3-month employment contract when TCN’s go to renew their permit. Can this be changed for the time being?

No, Identity Malta Agency does not accept three months employment contracts. In such instances, applicants would need to apply for an employment licence with Jobsplus and once the license is issued, they should send an email to [email protected] for information on how to obtain a residence permit for the duration of the employment license issued.

8.  Restriction on the final date of employment of employees on an indefinite contract – the online system restricts companies from inputting an end of employment date that is later than one year which is unfair since some employees who have been working with us for many years are not able to apply for a renewal that is longer than one year. How can companies prove a renewal next year if they have stated on this year’s renewal that the final date of employment is for a year’s time?

When an applicant applies for a renewal under the same conditions, submits a 2-year contract and no medical checks are required, then the application can be accepted for 2 years. There are no such technical restrictions.

9.  It seems that one of the requirements that seem to have cropped up in renewals is a ‘Housing Authority Approval’. Employers require more information on this. For those leasing agreements of shared residential space, by law the contract cannot be more than 6 months, and ID Malta are asking that lease agreements must be more than 6 months (there is a contradiction between Housing Authority and ID Malta). 

Identity Malta Agency accepts six-month contracts as stipulated by the law. However, at the application submission stage, the lease cannot be immediately at the end of the expiry date of the contract, since it should cover the duration of the due diligence process for a Single Permit application (which can take up to 8 weeks).

10.  Is declaration of posting necessary for renewals?

The declaration of posting is required for temping agents only.

11.  How many days do employers have to apply for change of company?

During COVID-19 period Identity Malta Agency adopt a more lenient approach. However, as from Monday 3rd August Identity Malta Agency will revert to pre-COVID-19 practices allowing for 10 days from the termination date.

12.     Is the process of collecting biometric data for TCNs going through the process of ‘change in employer’ necessary? Appointments available to collect biometric data were in 2 weeks’ time from letter of invitation issued, making the process a lengthier one.

Recapturing of biometrics is mandatory. Unfortunately, a number of applicants do not turn up for their appointment and as a result, this further delays the process.

Candidates Abroad

1.  Still abroad working permit – while they were applying for the travelling VISA from the Malta embassy, all airports got closed and were not able to travel. Now that the airport shall be operating once again, will they still be allowed to travel using the same invitation letter or will an extension be issued? Will candidates be allowed to process with their application once in Malta?

Following further discussions, Identity Malta Agency will be issuing new letters with extended dates to successful single permit applicants who are still abroad and whose letter of approval in principle has expired.

This is without prejudice to:

–          any further approval that may be required by the Maltese Health Authorities in order for the applicant to be able to proceed to Malta (as per Legal Notices 244, 255, 280 and 290 of 2020, and/or any subsequent related LN which may be issued by the Health Authorities);

–          any visa requirements especially if the applicant originates from a country where there is no facilitation yet for the issue of visa;

–          any restrictions regarding travelling to Malta imposed by member states through which the applicant would need to transit in order to reach Malta.

Applicants who were notified to proceed to Malta and were granted a visa from a Maltese mission abroad, which has now expired, will need to resubmit a new visa application. Such applications may be acceded to if it is possible to travel to Malta again, the employer declares that s/he still wishes to engage the applicant and there are no new restrictions imposed by the Health Authorities which may impede travel to Malta.

2.  Will ‘still abroad work permits’ applied in February still be considered? When will ‘on hold’ applications be continued?

In light of the developments of the labour market situation and requirements, such pending applications will be reassessed, and a final decision will be communicated soon.

EU Nationals

1.  Re: ID residence cards – some employees during the COVID-19 period applied for their ID residence card. They submitted by email all the information requested and they received a temporary document saying that this was a formal application and a temporary residence document is issued through that email with 3 months validity. Should we consider that document as the official confirmation? Has the same validity? If for example one of them needs to buy a car, would that document consider as valid since there are no ID number?

An official digital confirmation is issued to all EU national once a full application (containing all documents) is submitted. This confirms the submission of application. A person applying for a registration certificate should first submit a request via e-mail with the relative documentation. Subsequently, the applicant would be requested to personally call at Identity Malta’s offices in order to have their biometric features (photograph) captured.

2.  Lengthy procedures for EU employees – changing address is taking long and this makes life very difficult without a new residence card (e.g. to pay bills, to receive mail, etc.)

Identity Malta Agency is taking all the necessary health precautions in order to keep the public health a priority. Biometrics capturing appointments are being scheduled accordingly in order to limit crowds. Each applicant is being given a time and date appointment to facilitate the process whilst abiding by the health authorities’ recommendations.

General Queries

1. The online portal is not available over the phone and to answer a query via email takes more than 24hrs

Queries are seen to as soon as possible and if need be employers are called to our offices so that one of our representatives can assist them with their queries.

2.  Misleading information is given by different departments e.g. customer care and single permit section

Necessary action has been taken to address such shortfall and as from last week queries regarding single permit are being channelled to a dedicated team within the single permit section.

Another List of FAQs on Single Permit has also been published by Identity Malta’s website.