The Malta Independent 11 July 2020, Saturday

‘Go back to your country!’ - how foreign people in Malta are dealing with the Coronavirus

Rebekah Cilia Wednesday, 18 March 2020, 10:17 Last update: about 5 months ago

Malta has always been known for its friendly, welcoming attitude but now and again we do get a slip of the 'go back to your country' mentality. Since most of the initial cases of the new Coronavirus, in Malta, seem to have been imported, many expats in have experienced some hateful comments.

Most of the outrage of expats in Malta stem for comments made Economy Minister, Silvio Schembri. The Minister said, on Tuesday, that the moment third-country workers lose their job, they will have to go back to their country.

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On a Facebook group, dedicated to expats in Malta, many called out the Minister as being racist. Most surprisingly it was the Maltese people on the group who spoke out the most, apologising on behalf of the Maltese community for the comment, and calling for unity.

One expat wrote a long post directed at the Minister but ended it "This doesn't represent the Maltese as a nation. I am so incredible humbled by the fact that my Maltese neighbours are calling me on a daily base and are interested how they can help me being stranded in Germany, even though my centre of life is in Malta."

This comment, by the Minister, also brought about feelings of concern and worry, with expats asking that if medical treatment will also be provided to them, equally, should they contract the virus.

'There are nice Maltese too'

But it is not all doom and gloom, with an expat posting about his "Maltese landlord" and saying he is "the best landlord". This expat received this from his landlord when he asked him to give some more time to pay his rent:

"We are in hard time right now, we have to take care of each other, don't think about rent for now, just stay safe and call me every week or come to my shop, let me know that you are ok, I just wanna know your safety , this is important than rent at the moment. Also tell me whatever you need...."

Another expat said "there are nice Maltese too," referring to a post by a Maltese women rebutting a racist comment by noting that a lot of foreigners work in the healthcare industry, and will be the ones taking care of us.

Concern also arose amongst those working in Malta, and having a work permit, fearing that it will not be renewed. It was reported that some are receiving emails, from their employers or recruitment companies, that their work permit will not be renewed. These emails said that they should make arrangements to go back to their home country, since their residence permit will also not be renewed, once their work contract will expiry.

Expats helping the Maltese 

A lovely gesture by some expats in Malta, was prompted by one man who works in iGaming. He said that he is willing to sacrifice a percentage of his salary to support those in need. 

"We, the people working in iGaming can give back a little extra to the community if we stand together. Just to show that we foreigners care about Malta and the citizens in tough times." 

The response he received was incredible. 

Another man, also an expat, even offered to foster a cat should the owners decided to leave Malta, for now.

'Not sure if I can go back to my country'

A woman, originally from the UK, who works in the medical profession was shopping for her loaf of bread and some milk, when she noticed a woman watching her every move. Once the woman had paid for her groceries and was on her way out of the shop, she got a "go back to your country". The woman took it with a pinch of salt and cheekily replied, "not sure if I can". This medical professional has been in Malta for six years, and her friends have commented "...but this is your country."



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