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Unmasking Exploitation in the Maltese Job Market: A Call for Regulation

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BNN Correspondents
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Unmasking Exploitation in the Maltese Job Market: A Call for Regulation

In a stark revelation, Daniel Coppini, the managing partner of Recruit in Malta, has brought to light the exploitation of third country nationals (TCNs) in the Maltese job market. A disturbing pattern has emerged where unprincipled temping agencies are treating these individuals as commodities, luring them to Malta under deceitful pretenses, and leaving them stranded with heavy loans and high interest rates. Consequently, many return home dishonored by their families, bearing the brunt of unfulfilled promises.

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Temping Agencies: A Breeding Ground for Exploitation

TCNs, forming almost a third of the Maltese workforce, are the victims of underhanded practices by certain temping agencies. The exploitation is so severe that Coppini likens it to the work of "criminals" who bring people to Malta only to "spit them out" on the street.

New Legislation: A Ray of Hope

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Coppini, however, sees hope in the new legislation that has been announced by the government. Effective from April, it mandates that individuals or agencies engaging temporary workers must obtain a license after meeting certain criteria and passing due diligence vetting. The repercussions for operating without a license are severe - fines up to €30,000, with other contraventions resulting in fines between €5,000 and €7,000. Moreover, agencies with revoked or unrenewed licenses will be publicly named and shamed, and barred from government contracts. Coppini believes that this law will significantly transform the scenario.

Skills Cards: A Mandatory Requirement

Alongside the licensing requirement, the law also introduces mandatory skills cards for TCN workers in the tourism sector by next year. The aim is to extend this requirement to Maltese and EU workers by 2025. However, a survey by the Gozo Tourism Association indicates resistance from a significant portion of Gozitan restaurateurs and hoteliers, with more than half believing that these cards will hinder their operations.

In stark contrast to these exploitative practices, Coppini asserts that his company, Recruit in Malta, offers fair treatment and fulfills all legally required employment benefits. The new regulations, he believes, are a step towards ensuring a more holistic, robust set of safeguards for the workforce.

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