The Ministry for Finance and Employment has began a process so that by coming October it will update the national policy for employment for the coming seven years with a view to address challenges that are posed by an increased employment market and the economy. Among the major challenges, Minister Clyde Caruana mentioned the current amount of foreign employees currently assessed to be about 70,000 and said these are giving an important contribution but are also creating pressure on the infrastructure and services. He asked whether the time has come to introduce quotas.
In 2014 Malta began to implement an employment policy that a year previously had been agreed unanimously by politicians and the social partners aimed at tackling the challenges presented by the employment market.
The Minister said that at that time he had structured this policy which had produced positive results and the employment force rose from 180,000 to 260,000, women in employment increased from 52% to more than 66% while the number of persons with disability at work had more than tripled.
In the presence of industrialists, employees and educational institutes, Minister Caruana said the time has again come for the country to evaluate the impact of measures and to consider concrete and effective measures to tackle the challenges created and thus the reason for this launch to cover the forthcoming seven years.
Among the 12 existing challenges identified, Minister Caruana listed inequality and lack of wage increases in some sectors, the substantial increase of foreign employees as well as the lack of trained employees in necessary job skills.
The Minister asked whether the time has come to introduce quotas of foreign workers being granted employment permission according to various sectors, the conditions of work and wages.
The consultation process will be coordinated by Professor Vince Cassar and will involve more than 200 entities and organisations.
Information will also be gathered from employers and employees so as to give a holistic picture of the situation and thus the measures to be proposed, which may not differ from those at present but may be bettered here and there. This depends on conclusion reached.
During the launch of this process, Antoinette Caruana from Farsons, Dr Tania Camilleri from the Bank of Valletta and Corinne Valletta from the Betsson Group spoke of the impact of employment measures and made various recommendations for greater inclusion, flexibility, training and a one stop shop for employer.