GRTU CEO Abigail Psaila Mamo has today participated in a citizens debate entitled ‘Living with Migration’ which concentrated on the issue of migration in Malta including how they are perceived by citizens, how they themselves feel they are treated and the case for their integration.
It was mentioned that migration is an issue not just in Malta but in many other EU countries, where the numbers are even bigger than in Malta. When
we speak of migration we commonly associate it with asylum seekers and illegal migrants coming from Africa. Migrants however come from other EU countries as well as other 3rd countries and there is a good number of migrants that are skilled.
Ms Psaila Mamo said that Malta has a very low level of unemployment and migrants fill in the vacancies the Maltese are not interested in working in or not skilled enough. There are a number of sectors where migrant workers are essential, simply because there is shortage in the Maltese labour market. She said that there is an issue with the lengthy procedure for a third country national to be able to work in Malta and also with regards to the recognition of qualifications. Another thing she mentioned is that GRTU is supporting the Government in its efforts to regulate work of illegal immigrants through the newly announced Budget measure that will establish an Immigration Work Office where businesses will be able to buy the hours of work they need and the current situation of going to Marsa to pick an illegal immigrant for work will stop. This is something GRTU has been insisting on for many years because businesses have no other option but to employ them illegally and this would put a stop to any abuse and social contributions would be paid in the process. GRTU will be involved in the consultation process before this system is established to ensure that the system is not bureaucratic and that the cost of employment is reasonable and viable for enterprises.
Another way GRTU is supporting the integration of migrants is through social entrepreneurship. GRTU has applied for an Interreg project whereby it would work with disadvantaged groups such as women, pensioners, youths not in education and employment as well as migrants to help them tap into entrepreneurship as an option to employment. If funded the project would start being implemented later next year.