Workers promised ‘fast track’ application if they pay thousands

Unemployed for months, a young Indian posts a message on a Facebook page for expats in Malta in a last desperate attempt to get gainful employment in Europe.

He soon receives a message from someone claiming that they work in the catering industry in Malta and that a recruitment agency here can get them the necessary work permits.

But it will cost €4,280.

The first €280 must be paid as soon as he receives an email from Identity Malta indicating that the agency has submitted his application.

A sum of €1,500 will go to the agency’s lawyer when sending his CV, a letter of experience and a copy of his passport, while an additional €1,000 will have to be fired as soon as they receive the endorsement letter from Identity Malta.

The remaining €1,500 will be returned once the visa has been issued and the third-country national is in Malta.

This is the typical scenario that dozens of potential employees have recounted with leading members of the expat community, Tom Skjønsberg and Patricia Graham, who for years have guided third-country nationals on how to apply for a work permit in Malta.

Identity Malta only charges €280.50 for each application.

But agencies charge between €1,500 and €5,000 per work permit application in food delivery, catering, care, cleaning and other low-paying jobs, they say. Malta weather.

For several months, and more and more in recent weeks, they have repeatedly warned potential candidates not to “fall” into such recruitment agencies.

Graham and Skjønsberg noted that the increase in the number of people using these agencies coincided with reported delays at Identity Malta.

“Potential workers are promised that their application will be accelerated if they pay thousands of dollars to these agencies. They have tried to apply the “normal” method, but cannot overcome the hurdles of interviewing Identity Malta and visa facilitation services.

“Suddenly, if they’re shelling out thousands of dollars for these agencies, interview appointments become available,” Graham said. Malta weather.

Skjønsberg, one of the people who runs the Malta Page said that, from what potential applicants have told him, agencies typically ask for a percentage of the money up front, either through an intermediary or through a wire transfer.

The rest is paid in cash once you arrive in Malta.

“We noticed an increase in delays at Identity Malta at the end of 2019, then until 2020 we thought it was just due to COVID, but it got progressively worse…this year it has been horrible.

“The delays, for whatever reason, coincided with an increase in recruits from agencies charging thousands. However, the agencies don’t seem to have these delay issues.

When Malta weather spoke to potential applicants, a man, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he was required to pay the requested €4,000.

“I haven’t paid any money yet but I will if they turn out to be genuine because in India people take €10,000 for Malta so I think €4,000 is is little, in comparison,” he said.

And when another man asked on Expats Malta if he was being scammed because a recruitment agency had asked €5,500 to get the work permits, he received a call from the agency and was asked to delete the post.

He was also asked to send an apology by e-mail. The same agency also asked Skjønsberg to remove the post because it was “harmful” to the company.

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