Foreign workers will require a ‘skills card’

In 2024, people from outside the EU who want to work in hotels, bars, and restaurants in Malta will have to get a “skills card.” This is a plan the government is talking about with people in the industry. They want to make sure that only the right people come to work in Malta’s tourism sector.

To get this skills card, non-EU workers will need to pass a test before they can apply for a work visa and permit. This test costs €450, and they’ll also need to pay €125 for another in-person test when they arrive in Malta. This rule will later apply to other workers in the tourism industry too.

Starting in October 2024, non-EU workers who don’t need a visa to come to Malta will also need a skills card. The same goes for non-EU workers already working in Malta’s tourism sector when they renew their work permit. And by January 2025, even Maltese and EU workers in tourism will need the skills card.

The skills card test will include an English language test and basic training in things like customer service, hospitality, and what Malta offers tourists. You need to pass a final test to get the card. This card allows you to work in hotels, bars, restaurants, kitchens, housekeeping, and front office jobs.

This move is about improving the quality of workers in the tourism sector, not just having lots of workers. The Institute for Tourism Studies is helping to oversee this.

If you’re from outside the EU, you’ll have to take the training and tests in your home country. After you pass, you can apply for a work permit. If you fail, you can try again for an extra fee. Passing the test doesn’t automatically mean you get a work permit. If you do get one, you need to tell the Institute for Tourism Studies three weeks before you arrive in Malta. They’ll set up an in-person test within three days of your arrival. If you fail, you’ll be sent back home, and your work permit will be canceled.

People from countries that don’t need a visa for Malta can do the training in Malta within 90 days of arriving.

The skills cards will come in different levels, depending on your qualifications and experience. The Institute for Tourism Studies will assess you, but the Malta Tourism Authority will give you the skills card.

The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association is reviewing this plan to make sure it doesn’t make it too hard to hire foreign workers and doesn’t cost too much. They’re also discussing how the plan will work with the authorities.

This new system is open for public discussion until November 16, and they’re talking with people in the industry too. The goal is to make sure Malta gets workers with the right skills for the job. This way, the quality of people working in the industry will improve.