COVID doctor

The Malta Chamber has called for the Government to approach private and church care home operators in the same way that it does public ones, after an agreement it says only benefits workers in the public sector.

The Chamber has asked the Government to reconsider the agreement, and offer the same terms for public and private sector workers.

Reached on Friday between the Government and the Union of Nurses, the deal aims to make it easier for foreign nurses working in the public sector to obtain work permits through Identity Malta.

It seeks to remedy an alarming shortage of nurses in Malta, after both the public and the private sector called on the Government to take action, especially urgently since “the UK was poaching foreign nurses working in Malta”.

Care home operators within the Malta Chamber had proposed, amongst other recommendations a reduction in bureaucracy when applying for work permits through Identity Malta, and the addressing of problems relating to the duration of the permit and the substantial cost for renewals.

Despite the Chamber welcoming the agreement, it commented “the decision to allow only those employed in the public sector to benefit from such decisions is unjust”.

Furthermore, it said, “the shortage of nurses and care health workers is felt by everyone and the fact that the public sector is favoured and classified as more important than the private sector is unacceptable”.

The Chamber reminded the Government that the “private sector alleviates the burden to the State when offering its services to the populations”.

Therefore, it believes, “removing red tape in support of the public sector alone is unwarranted and will only result in foreign health care workers seeking employment within the Public Health System compounding the problem further for the private sector”.

Finally, it asks that the Government reconsiders its decisions and offers “the same terms and conditions on work permit duration, costs and application irrelevant If one is employed in the public or the private sector”.

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