Fast-track Malta Work Permits for Non-EU Executives

Key Employee Initiative (KEI) for highly technical & managerial posts in Malta

Dr. Jean-Philippe Chetcuti co-authored with Antoine Saliba Haig | 01 Mar 2022

Work Permit for Foreign Workers Simplified

Highy specialized non-EU individuals wishing to work in Malta may be eligible for a fast-track work permit application process known as 'The Key Employee Initiative'.  

Benefits of the Fast-track 'KEI' Work Permit Route

The Key Employee Initiative is a fast-track work permit application process for third country nationals having a job offer in Malta and ensures the issue of single permits by Identity Malta within five working days from the date of application. 

Eligibility for Fast-track Malta Work Permits

The fast-track Malta Work Permit route or Key Employee Initiative for non-EU nationals is open to managerial or highly technical posts, in other words company executives and technical specialists, taking up employment in Malta with Maltese companies.  Third country nationals applying with Identity Malta through their lawyers under the Key Employee Initiative (KEI) should possess the necessary qualifications or adequate experience required for the job offered.  Non-EU nationals applying for fast tracked work permits must satisfy the below eligibility requirements:

  • The employee must receive an annual gross salary of at least €30,000;
  • The employee must submit a certified copies of the relevant qualifications, warrants or the necessary work experience;
  • The employee must submit a decleration by the employer stating that the individual has the necessary credentials to perform the duties being assigned to him/her.

The Key Employee Initiative is applicable to managerial or highly-technical posts having the relevant qualifications or adequate experience for the job offered. Applicants have to provide information to the Expatriates Unit within Identity Malta to confirm the following eligibility conditions:

  1. Annual gross salary of at least €30,000 per annum.
  2. Certified copies of the relevant qualifications, warrants or the necessary work experience.
  3. Declaration by the employer stating that the applicant have the necessary credentials to perform the duties being assigned.

The KEI is also extended to innovators involved in start-up projects which are specifically endorsed by the Malta Enterprise.

Approved applicants will be issued with a residence permit which will be valid for a period of one year in its initial year. Subsequently, this may be renewed for a longer period (up to three years), provided that the applicant presents (i) a valid definite or indefinite contract, together with (ii) the original annual tax declaration form stamped by the Inland Revenue Department.

The Key Employee Initiative (KEI) provides a fast-tracked service to highly-specialized Third-Country Nationals whoare employed in Malta. The scheme will facilitate the issuing of work/residence permits to prospective key employees, which under normal circumstances should not exceed 5 working days from the application’s submission date

Process for Fast-track Malta Work Permits  

Applications for a single permit under the KEI may be submitted while the applicant is physically in Malta or still abroad. The checklist for single permit applications submitted under the KEI may be downloaded from this website.

Documents required for fast-track work permits

NOTE: Applicants must be in possession of a valid authorisation to reside in Malta. Such authorisation may be in the form of a residence permit or a Visa. Non-Visa nationals must submit their application within three months upon arrival in Malta.

A KEI applicant is must present the following documents in original:

  1. CEA Form C (Non-EU) – Application for a residence permit on the basis of employment. The form must be endorsed by the employer with an official stamp and signature of the responsible official;
  2. Form ID 1A – Identity Registration Form – Non-Maltese Nationals, together with an application fee of €280.50. Payment must be addressed to ‘Identity Malta Agency’ if made by cheque;
  3. Full copy of passport, including the blank pages;
  4. Covering letter by the employer, explaining in detail why this position is necessary and stating that the applicant has the necessary credentials to perform the duties being assigned.
  5. Work contract signed by the applicant and employer indicating a minimum annual gross salary of €30,000.
  6. Curriculum Vitae of the applicant, according to template provided, signed by the applicant.
  7. Certified copies of relevant qualifications, warrants or reference letters of the applicantrelating to the job that needs to be provided, together with recognition from the Malta Qualifications Recognition and Information Centre (MQRIC). Where recognition has not yet been obtained, a copy of the receipt from MQRIC needs to be attached with the application.
  8. Comprehensive health-insurance policy, showing all aspects being covered, which supports the applicant in the eventuality of requiring any type of medical assistance or hospitalisation during the whole period of stay in Malta;
  9. Lease agreement or purchase agreement of property which makes clear reference to the applicant. If renting property, the applicant is required to present a Rental Declaration Form signed by the owner of the same property. The termination date should be specified in the lease agreement;

Further Notes: The prospective employer is requested to submit the confirming competence of the TCN applicant.  Identity Malta retains certified copies of documents where original documentation would not be possible to retain.  Applicants whose application will be submitted while still abroad must present the original documentation once their application is approved in principle.  Identity Malta may request additional clarifications on applications. Where it is found to be impossible to conclude the application process within five working days, the applicant and the employer will be informed with the reasons of the delay affecting the application process.  The Agency reserves the right to exclude applicants and employers from the KEI if it is confirmed that applications submitted under the scheme contained false or misleading information.

Work Permit Application Services for Company Executives & Specialists

Our Malta immigration lawyers process applications for work permits under the Key Employee Initivives with the Identity Malta Agency.  Our Global Mobility team of lawyers and immigration consultants assist companies setting up a branch or subsidiary in Malta with all company formation, work permit, tax planning and employment related legal services.



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