Hospitality / Unsplash

New rules designed to ensure that foreign workers in Malta’s hospitality and tourism sectors have the necessary skills to provide a quality service come into effect on Tuesday (today).

Non-EU nationals will now need to obtain a Skills Pass – assessing their level of English, knowledge about Malta’s tourism offering, and basic hospitality skills – before they are allowed to work in Malta.

The requirement currently applies to those workers who are getting a work permit for the first time. From 1st January 2025, those currently in Malta will need to obtain the Skill Pass upon the renewal of their work permit.

The skills pass program was originally scheduled to begin in January 2024. However, following feedback from the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association regarding industry preparedness, the launch date has been pushed back to May.

It was said that the delay allows businesses additional time to adapt and ensures a smoother implementation process.

Nonetheless, Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association president Tony Zahra tells that the process is still subject to administrative difficulties.

“We hope that these can be resolved for a smooth running of the skills pass,” he said.

He also notes that the implementation of the skills pass “is administratively the responsibility of various government agencies and departments.”

In April, non-EU job seekers started being able to enrol in a mandatory online course covering English language proficiency, customer care, general hospitality practices, and knowledge of Malta’s tourist offerings. This online course, delivered by AI instructors, carries a fee of €450.

Upon successful completion of the online modules, applicants will participate in an online verification interview scheduled that began on 6th May.

Passing this interview, which comes with an extra €125 skills pass fee, is mandatory for employment in hotels, bars, restaurants, kitchens, housekeeping, and front office roles.

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