The Specialist Employee Initiative


Third-Country Nationals (“TCNs”), whether entering Malta from a visa-exempt country or through a Schengen Visa, may reside in Malta for a maximum of 90 days, unless there is a valid legal basis to remain. All TCNs require a work permit in order to be able to work in Malta.

There are a number of different routes by which a TCN can obtain a work permit to reside and work in Malta (kindly refer to our article on TCN Residence in Malta:

The Specialist Employee Initiative

The Specialist Employee Initiative (SEI) was introduced in January 2024, serving as an expedited work/residence permit application procedure available to highly-skilled TCNs.


In order to be eligible for application under the SEI, the TCN must:

  • Have a signed contract with a Maltese company with a minimum annual gross salary of €25,000; and
  • Be in possession of:
  • Qualifications of at least MQF Level 6 in an area directly related to the employment position being offered in Malta; OR
  • Any other academic, vocational or other certified qualified skill qualifications which are directly related to the position being offered by the Maltese employer together with a minimum of 3 years’ experience in a position directly related to that being offered.

Where the applicant submits an application based on (b)(ii), proof of experience must be presented in the form of (a) previous employment contracts, (b) employment history issued and officially certified by the employment authority of the country of employment, or (c) reference letters from former employers, showing both the start and end dates of the employment as well as the details of work carried out during employment.


Applications are to be submitted by the employer to Identita’ (the Maltese competent authority for issuing work permits). Identita’ will then request the proposed employee to confirm the application and validate the information submitted by the employer. Once confirmed, the employer will receive notice that the application has been fully submitted.

Identita’ will then review the application and decide whether to approve the issuance of a residence and work permit. If approved, the permit will be valid for a period of one year. It may be extended for further periods of up to three years, provided that the employment contract covers all the validity period.

Identita’ usually takes 15 working days to process the application, starting from the date of submission of the full application.

Taxation of TCNs Residing in Malta


TCNs not domiciled but resident in Malta are only taxed on income sourced in Malta as well as any other income received in Malta. This means that any foreign capital gains are not taxable in Malta.

TCNs are usually taxed at progressive rates ranging from 0-35%. However, individuals employed in certain roles or offices may benefit from a 15% flat tax on income.

Social Security

All employed TCNs between the ages of 16-65 are to pay social security contributions. However, a TCN may request to be exempted from paying social security in Malta if a state contribution is being paid in their country of origin.

Rights of TCNs Residing in Malta

Long-Term Residence

Third-country nationals who have lawfully resided in Malta for an uninterrupted period exceeding 5 years are eligible to apply for long-term resident status.


Third-country nationals are also entitled to bring their family members to Malta, which include (i) the spouse or long-term partner, (ii) unmarried minor children and (iii) unmarried children who are dependent on the TCN for financial support. Family members are given residency, but should they wish to seek employment in Malta, they must make a separate work permit application.


Third-country nationals and their family members have access to the Maltese public healthcare system if they pay social security in Malta.


Third-country nationals and their family members also have access to the educational system.

Driving Licence

Driving licences issued by non-EU/EEA member states are recognised for a period not exceeding 12 months from the date of entry of the TCN into Malta. Following the expiration of the 12-month period, TCNs are required to exchange the licence for a Maltese driving licence.

Immovable Property

Third-country nationals usually require an AIP permit when purchasing immoveable property in Malta. However, there are Special Designation Areas (SDAs) where TCNs do not require an AIP permit to purchase immoveable property.