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Malta announces new student visa system

Malta has announced changes to its student visa policy that will simplify and streamline the process for non-EU students and include work rights.

New regulations will make Malta more attractive to students. Photo:Kirkandmimi/Pixabay

English language students on courses longer than three months will also be allowed to work and they will need to apply for a residence permit only if they extend their stay over a year

Its aim is to make Malta more attractive for international students while maintaining the reputation of the local education sector, a government statement reads.

It will also allow private education providers to tap into certain markets where Malta has limited consular representation, by allowing students to apply for a visa without presenting themselves in person.

“The new arrangements will make it possible for the country to retain the talent of highly students”

“The government is aware that the current scenario may be harming Malta’s potential in the education sector and prejudicing the significant investment of educational establishments in the Maltese economy,” the government statement reads.

Non-EU students enrolled in a higher education course for more than 90 days will also be allowed to work 20 hours a week, and international graduates will be able to extend their stay in Malta for six months after graduation to look for work.

“The new arrangements will make it possible for the country to retain the talent of highly skilled third-country nationals,” the statement reads.

English language students on courses longer than three months will also be allowed to work and they will need to apply for a residence permit only if they extend their stay over a year.

FELTOM CEO James Perry said the possibility to work while studying English in Malta will definitely boost interest in the island nation as a study destination.

“Most third-country nationals travel for a longer period of time and the possibility of working will help in financing part of their stay,” he told The PIE News.

The new system, he explained, will allow students to start working as of the 13th week after their arrival and for up to 20 hours per week. This work license is issued once the student visa is approved, and the students can apply for it once they find employment.

“At FELTOM we feel that this adjustment to the employment legislation is definitely a very good start and we will be monitoring the progress and suggest improvements, if needed,” he said.

Last year, FELTOM called for the introduction of work rights and ‘walk-ins’ – allowing tourists to easily convert to a student visa – as a measure to tackle shorter rates of stay.

The system will also aim to ensure that only bona fide students obtain student visas, so will require the Ministry for Education and Employment, Identity Malta and the police to maintain a system of data sharing on students and educational institutions.

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