No government policy to bring back foreign workers – Edward Scicluna

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There was no government policy to increase foreign labour force before the Coronavirus pandemic, and there is no policy to bring these workers back, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said today.

“If they come back or not, is all up to the private sector and whether they will need a bigger labour force and more workers. These workers come back if the economy needs them.”

Scicluna was asked whether the Government is looking into incentives to bring back foreign workers who were repatriated during the pandemic.

Back in March, Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo had announced that over 4,200 people were repatriated in March and that some 3,131 third-country nationals had also been asked to be repatriated.

“We never had any policies to increase the foreign labour force, even though the Opposition has said so time and time again,” said Scicluna.

“When the private sector began to grow and could not find local workers, then naturally they began searching in Europe for workers. These were people who would come to work, live and buy property in Malta, and then leave when they wish,” said Scicluna.

He pointed out that certain sectors could not find specific workers in Europe; he gave the example of carers. “We see in countries like the Philippines, where many people have studied and are professionals in that type of work.”

He said that if workers wish to come back or not is all up to the private sector and whether they will need more labour force.

This newsroom also asked Scicluna as to whether the Government has had any discussions with the TACA Company, as to why a group of 80 Turkish workers has yet to be paid. He said that it was not in his remit to reply to such questions.