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Work Permit

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Malta Work Permit

Article 11 of the Immigration Act, Chapter 217 of the Laws of Malta, prescribes the need for a work permit for any foreign national wishing to exercise any profession or occupation or hold any appointment or be employed in Malta.

At present, all foreign nationals seeking to work in Malta require a work permit. In the case of citizens from the EEA/Switzerland and their family members, an employment licence is required until the 30th April 2011. In these cases, the licence is issued automatically, subject only to verification of nationality in the case of EEA/Swiss nationals. In the case of citizens from outside the EEA/Switzerland (or ‘third country national’), applications for a work permit are subject to labour market considerations. They are not automatic, and are only granted where EEA/Swiss nationals cannot be identified for the position in question.  Until 31st December 2011, applications for an employment licence in respect of citizens from Bulgaria and Romania are also subject to labour market considerations. Employment licences are also needed in respect of asylum seekers, and for persons with subsidiary protection/temporary humanitarian protection status and refugee status.

In all the above cases involving non EEA / Swiss citizens, an application for an employment licence is made by the employer, except in the case of persons with subsidiary protection / temporary humanitarian protection status and refugee status, who are granted a licence in their own name.

Exemption from work permit

Workers who are habitually based within the EEA/Switzerland and who have an employment relationship with an employer in that country, but who are being seconded or posted for a stipulated period to Malta, shall be dispensed from the need of an employment licence. Nevertheless, such works should file a notification letter within 24 hours prior to commencement of their employment in Malta.

Employment licences are not issued in respect of workers who will not normally or habitually be carrying out work in Malta. Employers wishing to employ a worker to carry out work primarily in another country need not apply for an employment licence. At present, for the purpose of employment licence considerations, a licence shall be issued to persons normally and habitually working and residing in Malta, which is equated to 183 days a year.

Foreign national non-resident and non-executive directors (individuals who do not ordinarily reside in Malta, who do not have an employment relationship with the company and who may be in receipt of a director’s remuneration but not in receipt of a salary) do not require an employment licence.

Non-transferrable Permit

An employment licence is issued to a specific employer in respect of a specific employee to perform a specific job.  Consequently, an employer cannot use an employment licence issued in respect of one employee, for another employee, even if the latter is performing the same work previously done by the former.

However, a mere change of name of the employer, shall not be deemed to constitute a transfer of licence, insofar that the employment of the employee remains unchanged and due notification is provided to the Employment and Training Corporation.  A similar dispensation is provided for in the case of mergers, as well as secondment of employee within the same group of companies.

Duration of the Work Permit

All work permits are for a maximum duration of one (1) year except in the case of asylum seekers where employment licences are issued for periods ranging from three to six months.

Those for EEA/Swiss nationals and recognised refugees may be renewed repeatedly thereafter, although in the case of EEA/Swiss nationals, no licences will be necessary after 30th April 2011.

In the case of third country nationals, the licence is also issued repeatedly as long as there is a proven labour market shortage.

Applications for a licence for an EEA/Swiss national

The employer or the EEA/Swiss national concerned must obtain an employment licence application. The applicant must take a valid travel document and a passport photo. The applicant will be given a provisional employment licence, which will then be subject to verification of nationality and a definitive employment licence will be sent by mail within one week.

Documentation required

In the case of an application for a new employment licence for a third country national, the employer must fill in an application form and submit it to the Employment Licences Unit by hand or by mail.

The following documentation needs to be provided at application stage:

  • Application form;
  • Curriculum vitae;
  • Position description;
  • References/testimonials;
  • One passport photo;
  • Copy of travel document;
  • Copy of valid visa (if foreign national is in Malta);
  • Copy of qualification certificates and accreditation;
  • Covering letter by employer indicating site of work;
  • Payment of employment fee;
  • Evidence of search for EEA/Swiss/Maltese nationals

The following documents must also be supplied, depending on the case as indicated:

  • A valid police certificate (if the foreign national is an asylum seeker or a person enjoying subsidiary protection/temporary humanitarian protection status and refugee status;
  • Valid certificate issued by the refugee commissioner in the case of refugees and asylum seekers;
  • Proof of long-term residence status, or of relation to long-term resident, where applicable;
  • Evidence from a medical specialist in the case of a home-based foreign carer;
  • Birth certificates of children, if application is for nanny;
  • Proof of relationship to diplomat, if application is for family member of diplomat;
  • Approval of the regulatory body, in the case of applications for third country nationals to perform a regulated profession;
  • Health clearance form in the case of third country nationals already in Malta;
  • Proof of study in Malta, in the case of students;
  • Proof of relationship with EEA/Swiss national in the case of TCN dependent on EEA/Swiss national.

Processing of application

When the application is received, a verfication is done on all documentation submitted, to ascertain their veracity.  Key stakeholders are asked for their clearance, including health and immigration authorities, as well as other sector-specific authorities as the case may be. If clearance is withheld from any of these stakeholders, the application will be rejected and applicant informed accordingly. If no stakeholder presents an objection, then the employment licence is issued to the employer, and the foreign national may take up employment with that employer on the terms indicated in the application.

Applications will be considered more favourably if employers indicate in their application that the wage to be granted, reflects the average wages in the relevant occupation or sector.

Health Considerations

There are no health requirements in terms of EEA/Swiss nationals.


In the case of EEA/Swiss nationals, a provisional employment licence is issued immediately upon application which is then subject to verification of nationality and a definitive employment licence will be sent by mail within one week.

In respect of third country nationals, the application is first considered from a labour market perspective. If the application is not accepted, a rejection letter is issued within fifteen working days.  If the application is accepted from a labour market perspective, it will be referred to other stakeholders for views. If no objections are received from the stakeholders concerned, the Corporation will proceed to issue the licence.

If the application is rejected, applicants may, within one calendar month from the date of rejection letter, submit a request for reconsideration. In the request for reconsideration applicants have to substantiate the request for the issue of Licence by submitting new information and/or by giving reasons why the request should be favourably considered. Only one request for reconsideration may be made in respect of any rejection.

Reconsideration is only possible in the case of labour market considerations. If an application is rejected on grounds of security, health, other stakeholder clearance or on the number of renewals (ie a maximum of three renewals), reconsideration is not possible.


EEA/Swiss nationals, (including Bulgarian and Romanian citizens), may take up self-employment in Malta without the need for an employment licence, albeit a notification form should be filed with the relevant authorities.

In order to qualify for self-employed status, a third country national must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Investment of at least Eur 100,000 without an EEA/Swiss/Maltese partner; or an investment or shareholding equivalent to Eur 40,000 with a Maltese partner. Investment must consist of fixed assets (such as immovable property and machinery) and/or capital used for the business purposes. Rental contracts do not qualify;
  • Highly skilled innovators with a sound business plan who commit to recruiting at least three EEA/Swiss/Maltese nationals within eighteen months of establishment;
  • Sole representative of an overseas company (with a sound reputation and established for at least three years abroad) wishing to open a branch in Malta;
  • Directors forming part of a project that has been formally approved by Malta Enterprise.

In the aforesaid case, a Business Plan is required, indicating clearly when such investment is to occur, within twelve months from application.

Work Permit for Part-time employment

There are no restrictions on the type of work undertaken by EEA/Swiss nationals or by recognised Refugees and persons with temporary humanitarian protection or subsidiary protection. Romanian and Bulgarian nationals must first have worked for a minimum of twelve months on full time basis before being eligible for part time work as their primary or secondary employment.Asylum seekers may work on a full or part-time basis. Third country nationals may only work on a full-time basis, or on a part-time basis if such job enjoys a remuneration which is at least twice the minimum wage throughout the validity of the employment licence.

Partners and Relatives

An application for an Employment Licence for a third country national, partner of a EEA/Swiss national who lives and works in Malta will be considered positively, provided that a residence card stating that the person is in fact “Other Family Member” is presented on application.

Family members of long-term residents (LTRs) who acquire a residence permit under the Family Reunification Regulations are entitled to apply for an employment licence to work in Malta. From the thirteenth month after reunification, family members of LTRs are entitled (in the same way as the LTR him or herself) access to employment and to selfemployment, without the need for labour market considerations.

Proof of relation to LTR is to be presented upon request and/or a copy of passport showing residence in Malta on the basis of family reunification.

Compliance Matters

When the employment licence is issued, the employment licence is sent to the applicant.  Thereinafter compliance with social security, income tax and employment conditions regulations must be ensured.

The employee in respect of whom an employment licence is issued, must obtain a residence permit, within one month from the date of the employment licence.

A foreign national working in Malta has all the rights of a Maltese employee, as secured in the Employment and Industrial Relations Act, meaning that employers may not engage foreign nationals on conditions of employment, (wages/salaries, hours of work etc;) which are less favourable than those established for work of the same character or nature by national laws and regulations.   

Contact one of our officers to start the process for the application of a work permit. Simply fill in the contact box below or contact us by email on

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