Malta: Five-fold increase in illegal foreign workers

The number of foreign workers found to be working illegally in Malta rose dramatically between 2013 and 2014, while some third-country workers go unpaid by their employers for months.

Malta's Employment and Training Corporation (ETC) has stated in its annual report that in 2014 its officers found 734 foreign workers working illegally over the course of 2,422 inspections. This is a five-fold increase on the figure for 2013. There was only one case of illegal employment of minors, compared to 12 cases in 2013 and 20 in 2010.

Meanwhile, a study published by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights in June 2015 highlights that some employers in Malta do not pay their third-country workers for periods of several months. The three economic sectors in which workers are most at risk of such labour exploitation are construction, accommodation and food service activities, and fishing and agriculture. A representative of a victim-support organisation in Malta stated that these workers are vulnerable to exploitation as they need money to send to their families back home or to pay debts incurred for transportation and recruitment. If their employment contract is terminated, they will have to leave the country.

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