Access to the labour market


Country Report: Access to the labour market Last updated: 21/09/23

Beneficiaries of international protection have access to the labour market both as employees and self-employed workers.[1] They are entitled to access the labour market under the same conditions as Maltese nationals. To do so, they need an employment licence issued by JobsPlus. The maximum duration of the employment licence is 12 months and is renewable. In such cases, the person is granted an employment licence in their own name. Obstacles in this area include the application costs. A new application costs €58, while annual renewal costs €34.[2]

They are eligible for all positions, saving those reserved for Maltese and/or EU nationals, thereby excluding the vast majority of positions within the public service. They also have access to employment training programmes at JobsPlus.

A report published in December 2021 by JRS and aditus foundation entitled “In Pursuit of Livelihood: An in-depth investigation of asylum-seekers’ battle against poverty and social exclusion in Malta” investigated the phenomenon of poverty among asylum seekers in an in-depth manner, with a focus on exploring the causes and maintaining factors of asylum seekers’ livelihood difficulties. The report draws on data collected by interviewing the head of household on income and health indicators, deprivation and dwelling conditions from 116 households. It concluded that “The combined impact of a steep rise in cost of living, including an exponential surge in rent prices, on one hand, and stagnant wages on another, emerged clearly as one of the main factors. Another significant factor appears to be the reality that most asylum seekers, due to a mix of poor English or Maltese, basic levels of education, racial discrimination and low transferability of job-related skills and competencies, are restricted to a very limited section of the employment market. At best, participants could aim for jobs slightly above the minimum wage, with no or little chances of progression. In this regard, in Malta’s current economic climate, the best they can aim for may still not be enough to lift them out of poverty, especially if they need to support a family. Furthermore, limited access to financial services appears to act as another barrier towards financial stability for this population.[3]

Jobsplus indicated that in 2021 it delivered 200 work permits to refugees, 805 permits to subsidiary protection beneficiaries and 89 for beneficiaries of THP. For 2022, JobsPlus indicated that it issued 248 employment licences for refugees and 963 for subsidiary protection holders.




[1] Regulation 20(c), Procedural Regulations, Subsidiary Legislation 420.7 of the Laws of Malta

[2] European Commission, Challenges in the Labour Market Integration of Asylum Seekers and Refugees, EEPO Ad Hoc Request, May 2016.

[3] JRS and aditus foundation, In Pursuit of Livelihood: An in-depth investigation of asylum-seekers’ battle against poverty and social exclusion in Malta, December 2021, available at

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation