As Maltese legislation currently stands, in terms of Subsidiary Legislation 217.05, employment licences are required in respect of persons who enjoy long-term residence status.
The employment licence derives from the Immigration Act (Chapter 217 of the Laws of Malta) and such licence regulates the entry and permanence in Malta of third-country nationals. It is significant to note however, that not all third-country nationals who obtain a work permit also require an employment licence.
Article 11(1)(a) of the Long Term Residence Directive (2003/109/EC) (hereinafter ‘Directive’) establishes that long-term residents shall enjoy equal treatment with nationals regarding access to employment and self-employed activity, provided such activities do not entail even occasional involvement in the exercise of public authority, and conditions of employment and working conditions, including conditions regarding dismissal and remuneration.
In light of the above, on the 2nd of July 2020, the EU Commission (hereinafter ‘Commission’) has sent a formal notice to the Maltese authorities outlining that by obliging third-country nationals who are long-term residents in Malta to have an employment license, they are failing to comply with their obligations under the Directive.
In this regard, the Commission has decided to initiate an infringement procedure against Malta as they have concluded that the said requirement imposed on these residents to obtain an employment license represents an infringement of Article 11(1)(a) of the Directive in view of the fact that Maltese nationals do not require such license to have access to employment and thus, the requirement imposed on such residents constitutes inequality of treatment.
Malta has a time-period of three months in order to respond to the letter of formal notice.
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