ICLG Corporate Immigration Malta 2016

Dr. Jean-Philippe Chetcuti | Published on 10 Nov 2016

Corporate Immigration Malta 2016

Chetcuti Cauchi has authored the Malta chapter for the International Comparative Legal Guide (ICLG)'s Corporate Immigration. The Corporate Immigration review provides a practical cross-border insight into corporate immigration law and regulations, including compliance, investment work permits and dependents across 24 jurisdictions. This publication was published by the Global Legal Group.

Managing Partner Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti and Partner Dr Pricilla Mifsud Parker have prepared the Malta Chapter for the 3rd edition of the ICLG Coroprate Immigration review. In this review, all the fundamental issues which impact corporate immigration are throughly explored from a legal perspective. 

The chapter, which can be accessed from here, contains thirteen sections of particular interest to the corporate immigration practice.

  • Introduction

Our corporate immigration experts gave a brief overview of the main sources of immigration law in Malta, the relevant authorities which administer the corporate immigration system in Malta and the multinational agreements entered into by Malta which facilitate the movement of people between countries for employment purposes.

  • Business Visitors

In this section, our authors spoke about the visa requirements for third country nationals travelling in Malta for business purposes. A visa is still required for third country business visitors, save for nationals of a number of countries, including the US, which do not require a visa to enter Malta for whatever the purpose. Such individuals can remain within the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days within 180 days. The section also specifies the activities which business visitors are able to undertake.

  • Immigration Compliance and Illegal Working

In this section, our authors outline the Maltese system of compliance inspections of employers who regularly employ foreign nationals, the relevant legislation which prevents illegal working and the penalties which are imposed on organisations which are found to be employing foreign nationals without permission to work.

  • Corporate immigration – General

This section provides a detailed, but general overview of the corporate immigration sector in Malta. This includes the procedure for employers to hire foreign nationals and the ongoing duties which these employers will need to respect to ensure immigration compliance. Additionally, the local authority takes into account that some occupations may be in short supply, and issues highly skilled visas.

This section also outlines the requirements posed on third country employees in Malta, including the need to demonstrate English language proficiency, any medical examinations, medical insurance and work permits.

  • Investment or Establishment Work Permit

In Malta, there are categories of work permits which are issued on the basis of an investment to Malta, namely the self-employed work permit and the work permit for a shareholder or ultimate beneficial owner of a company.

  • Temporary Work Permits

All work permits in Malta are granted on a temporary basis and are issued for a maximum of one year by the local authority. Employment licences are only issued in respect of workers who normally or habitually be carrying out work in Malta (i.e. more than 6 months in a year). Employers who wish to employ a worker who will carry out work primarily in another country will not need to apply for an employment licence.

  • Group or Intra-Company Transfer Work Permits

There is no specific immigration category for inter-company transfers within international groups; however, a foreign undertaking may send posted employees to an establishment or to an undertaking in Malta which is owned by the foreign undertaking. In this section, our authors specify the conditions which an employer must fulfil in order to obtain a work permit for an intra-company group employee and the process by which an employee can obtain a visa.

  • New hire work permits

This section outlines the legal basis and the procedure for employers who wish to obtain work permits for new hires. In Malta, the authority carries out labour market testing to ensure that there are no suitable resident workers before issuing a work permit to new hires. This is subject to a number of exemptions.

Moreover, our authors tackle the issue of residency for new employees since in Malta, residency and employment are treated as separate matters. Employees may opt to extend their residency permit on the basis of factors other than employment, or may apply for permanent residency after holding an employment licence in Malta for five years and residing in Malta throughout this period.

  • Conditions of Stay for Work Permit Holders

This section deals with the conditions of stay for those who obtain work permits and are residents on this basis.

  • Dependents

There are no formal rules on who qualifies as a dependent of a person coming to work on a sponsored basis; however, such persons are able to apply for an e-residence

  • Permanent Residence

This section is dedicated to the attainment of permanent residence in Malta. Persons who have resided in Malta for a period of at least five consecutive years and whose absences from Malta were shorter than six consecutive months and did not exceed a total of 10 months within the five-year period may submit an application, proving that they satisfy a number of conditions. Alternatively, there are various residency programmes, including the Malta Ordinary Residence Scheme, the Malta Residence Programme, the Global Residence Programme which permit individuals of various means to attain residency in Malta. 

  • Bars to Admission

The main bars to admission for work are the lack of police clearance, health clearance (infectious diseases) or lack of clearance from stakeholders (Malta Tourism Authority for chefs; Malta Sports Council for sports persons, etc.).


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Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti

Senior Partner, Global Residency & Citizenship

+356 22056411

Mr Kenneth Camilleri

Director, Tax & Immigration

+356 22056414

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