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Malta welcomes nurses from foreign countries including India; Residency permit conditions have been liberalized

Government of Malta with liberal systems to attract nurses from foreign countries including India. The Maltese government has taken steps to retain and recruit more nurses, following reports that many nurses are moving to other countries, including the UK, due to bureaucratic malpractice.

The government has decided to extend the validity of residency permits and eliminate ‘red tape’ on foreign nurses. As part of this, the validity of the resident permit will be extended to three years.

The wait for official permission for nurses and their families to travel to Malta will be reduced. Residency applications will be processed within 15 working days. All costs associated with the permit have been cut.

The meeting also agreed to provide all necessary medical check-ups free of cost to employees of non-EU countries, including India. This also applies to those working on contract in the public sector.

One-fifth of the non-EU nurses working here were preparing to move to the UK due to the intervention of the bureaucracy. About 140 nurses, including those from India, Pakistan and the Philippines, resigned from government service alone.

The decision to implement the emergency changes was taken at the meeting of Mario Cutajar, Principal Permanent Secretary to the Government, Paul Pace, President of the MUMN, and Identity Maltese officials.

Residency permit for three years

The residency permit, which was currently issued by the Identity Malta Agency for one year, is now valid for three years. This benefit is available to residency permit nurses and other health professionals working in the public sector on an indefinite contract.

Fees reduced

Application fees for nurses outside the EU and for health professionals working in the country will be significantly reduced. The fees have been reduced by €500.

A three-year work permit costs €250, while a residency card costs €82.50. It will cost €27.50 per year. For a total of three years, they will have to pay €332.50 instead of the current €832.50.

Decision on applications within 15 days

Identity Malta Agency will process applications within 15 working days. The card will be available as soon as the application is approved. The applicant will personally receive a letter in the mail informing them of this.

Generous approach to family members

If filed together, the wife, husband and children can get a residence permit for three years. Family members of long-term residence permit holders will also receive a permit valid for five years.

Organisations have demanded that benefits be extended to the private sector as well

At the same time, there are allegations that these liberal systems are limited to those working in the public sector. Hundreds of foreign nurses and other staff, including Keralites, work in the private sector in Malta.

Organisations, including the Chamber of Commerce, have called for those working in the private sector to benefit.

It is unfair to limit benefits only to those in the public sector who have participated in the discussion.

The Chamber called on the government to reconsider its decision and offer all new terms and conditions regarding work permit validity and medical expenses to all, regardless of whether they are in the public or private sector.

Presence of Keralites behind changes in residence permits for foreigners in Malta

Hundreds of foreigners coming to work in Malta received one-year permits. The expatriates had to pay a hefty fee for this, in addition to having to undergo the necessary medical tests and ID card renewals every year. The delay in getting the card approved by those applying for it has caused a lot of inconvenience to those coming to work from abroad.

The family reunification process, which is generally easy in many other EU countries, has not been easy for expatriates in Malta. There were hundreds of parents here who had difficulty bringing their children to Malta. Many parents had to wait more than a year for their children to get an ID card.

The Malayali expats in Malta are also relieved that the old rule that a person without a fixed income cannot even bring spouse or children with him will be rewritten.

The Indian community as a whole is now proud of the fact that it was the Malayali expatriates in Malta who first realized that a solution to the problems faced by foreign workers in Malta would not have been possible without a popular movement.

Jose Alappattu from Thodupuzha Chungam and Ajay Tomy from Pala Kadanad were among the first to approach the Maltese media for help with the historic change.

In the ‘Times of Malta’, the most prominent newspaper in Malta, the plight of expatriate workers came out through the words of Jose and Ajay, opening the eyes of the authorities.

The action was intensified when petitions were submitted to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Malta, informing them of the problems facing foreigners in Malta. The Malayali community in Malta are happy that the government has been able to take steps in their favor within months.

Possibilities in Malta

Over the years, hundreds of Malayalees (Keralites) have come to Malta seeking nursing opportunities. Most people come to Malta as an easy way to immigrate to Europe. Nursing registration in Malta is not given directly to a person from India.

Arriving in Malta as a care assistant, Malayalees usually adopt the method of obtaining nursing registration after adaptation. It may be possible to obtain such registration within a one-year period.

In Malta, the advantage is that for IELTS and OET, only lower scores are required than other countries, but the downside is that the basic salary is lower than in many other European countries.

However, the main factor attracting Indian nurses to Malta is the possibility of learning German and moving to Germany or to the UK after a certain period of time.

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