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Malta Says Needs More Foreign Workers to Boost Economy

Malta’s average economic growth of around 6.4%,  far outstrips the EU average.Malta’s average economic growth of around 6.4%,  far outstrips the EU average.

More than 20,000 foreign workers have come to the island country of Malta over the past few years but even more are needed to “build the railroad” and keep the economy running.

Clyde Caruana, who heads the state employment agency JobsPlus, is drafting proposals on Malta’s labor force requirements and says there is no doubt thousands more are needed to meet the demand from employers, MNA reported.

He said that if this was not done, the economy would seize up. “We have maximized the potential of the Maltese labor force with a number of measures. And over the past few years we attracted thousands of foreigners to augment local workers too. Attracting them again, and in larger numbers, is a top priority now,” the economist said.

Caruana added that what had once been a sense of frustration among employers seeking enough workers had now become desperation. “I can’t stress enough how important bringing in these workers is for our economy,” he said. And, the economy, Caruana said, is growing.

Over the past four years the country’s average economic growth was measured at around 6.4%–far outstripping the EU average. Just last year Malta had registered a net increase of 10,500 jobs over the previous year, a trend that shows no signs of abating.

“Right now it has dipped slightly after the election, which is normal. But once the government starts to implement the electoral manifesto–basically kick-starting large infrastructural projects–things will change fast,” he said.

The government has pledged a €700 million ($835 million) seven-year plan to redo all of the island’s road network. It has also planned to revamp several hospitals, and with a number of major high-rise and luxury construction projects earmarked for the next few years, Malta has a desperate need for workers.

Where are they going to come from? Caruana believes one solution could be to import unemployed Europeans to meet the economy’s requirements. He is expected to propose to the cabinet that bilateral agreements could be reached with countries where unemployment is high, for their jobless to work in Malta.

“This is something we are going to have to consider. It has worked in other countries that needed far more labor than their labor force could supply.” The government would also be looking at how countries with a “high dependency on human capital”, such as Singapore, solved their problems.

 

 

 

 

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