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Indian workers face rental, visa renewal problems, ambassador tells GWU


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Indian workers in Malta are facing difficulties in renting properties and to travel back home and return to the island, due to visa renewal delays, High Commissioner to Malta Gloria Gangte told a delegation of the General Workers Union.

Gangte told GWU deputy secretary-general Kevin Camilleri that some Indian workers in Malta had complained about finding a place to live when higher rents are sought from Indian nationals compared to other nationalities.

She added that Indians are paid lesser wages compared to their Maltese counterparts, and delays in visa renewals often lead to an irregular residence situation in Malta.

“We hope the new changes in laws for temping agencies that recruit foreign workers in Malta have a positive impact for Indian workers. In the past, many of them have had to make substantial payment to agencies to secure a job which often do not materialise once they land in Malta,” Gangte said.

The High Commission has proposed a Migration Mobility Partnership Agreement (MMPA) with the Maltese government, allowing a match between the skill sets needed by Maltese businesses to the appropriate workers that are recruited from India.

“Indian workers contribute to social security during their stay in Malta. However, upon leaving the country, they do not receive any benefits. Signing of a social security agreement similar to what India has done with other EU countries such as Germany and France can be explored. This will ensure that Indian workers will have no disadvantage with regard to their pensions even after leaving Malta. It is crucial to address this disparity and work towards providing fair and equitable social security benefits for all workers, irrespective of their nationality,” she said.

The GWU today union of choice for over 7,000 non-Maltese workers on the island, Camilleri told Gangte, during a meeting held on furthering the wellbeing of Indian workers on the island.

“The GWU has always safeguarded the interests of workers, wherever they hail from, both on and off the workplace – no distinction is made on race, belief or gender. We believe everyone is equal,” Camilleri said.

Many foreign workers in Malta are amongst the most vulnerable and marginalised groups in society today, often risking being exposed to abuse and exploitation, with limited access to essential services, or irresponsibly depicted as a burden on Maltese society.

Camilleri said Malta’s strong economic growth over the last years necessitated a large influx of foreign workers in response to the growth in jobs and the demand for workers in various sectors. “In our meeting with the High Commissioner, we discussed the specific needs and challenges of third-country nationals, among them Indians, and the best way in which we can assist and support them, as members of our trade union, with our initiatives,” Camilleri said.

“We want to promote and share ideas of cultural integration, that can create a harmonious workplace while assisting Indian workers in better communication with local authorities.”

Camilleri said the GWU had also discussed matters of integration through various ideas that can achieve better cultural understanding between the various foreign communities in Malta. The GWU and the High Commission agreed to celebrate the International Yoga Day with various events throughout May and June, culminating in a celebratory event on 21 June.

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