The Malta Independent 23 October 2019, Wednesday

Work permits for foreigners: Online application system being tested

Wednesday, 19 June 2019, 14:14 Last update: about 5 months ago

A new online system that will allow employers to send their applications for non-EU nationals’ work permits is currently being tested, Parliamentary Secretary of Reforms Julia Farrugia Portelli said.

She announced that the government intends on launching the system later this year, and that it is currently in the testing phase.

Recent media reports have shown that individuals are having to queue from the early hours of the morning to deliver the applications, only to sometimes be turned away and asked to return at a later date.

Speaking at the press conference for the launch of a report on simplification, Principal Permanent Secretary Mario Cutajar explained that the first mission the government embarked on for public services was to make it a 24/7 service, and now that this had been implemented, the next step is to introduce the “once only principal”.

The goal is to significantly simplify of obtaining services from the government for citizens, which revolves around removing the need of repeatedly filling in different forms requiring the same data.

The target date for this mechanism’s implementation is set at 2021, and Cutajar explained that “this was a very complicated change to bring about, since several government databases were unable to communicate with each other due to the limitations of the technology which was in place”.

The Principal Permanent Secretary added that the government was already thinking of what could come after this step and is now eyeing the use of Artificial Intelligence to continue improving the public service.

“The public service wants to seize to opportunities AI offer which will allow it to not only act promptly, but to help the people using the service to take the next required step in the process.”

Cutajar went on to say that they want to be clear about what they have accomplished, what has not been accomplished and why – going on to note that over 75% of proposals were implemented in 2018, pointing to the three one-stop-shop hubs covering family, taxpayer, and education services.

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