Europe

Why not Malta? Update on Malta’s economy, jobs in 2021 and beyond

Jobs outlook in Malta for 2021

Jobs outlook in Malta for 2021

The smallest economy in the EU zone, Malta has a highly industrialized and service-based economy. The latest reports on the country’s economy show that the country’s agricultural sector had an estimated contraction of 12.5% in 2020. The major reason for this was the crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

18% of the workforce in the country is employed by the industrial sector. This sector represents 12.5% of the GDP. The country’s economy is primarily based on the manufacture of pharma products and microchips. The manufacturing sector contributes 7% of the country’s GDP. In 2020, it reduced to 5% due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The tertiary sector represents 75.6% of the country’s GDP. 81% of the workforce of the country is employed in the tertiary sector. The tourism sector of the country powers the economy of Malta. This sector contributes to the GDP at one of the highest rates in the EU. With the COVID-19 crisis, this sector got highly affected. There was a dip of 75% in the number of visitors to the country in the period from January 2020 to November 2020.

Similarly, the accommodation and food services sector saw a decrease of 65.5%. The dip was 31.1% for transportation & storage and 18.1% for wholesale and retail trade.

But the forecast for Malta’s economy for 2021 done by the European Commission has some interesting news. The following are the main observations:

  • Malta’s economy will grow by 4.5% in 2021.
  • Though Malta’s economy contracted at the third-largest rate in the EU, its effect was partially mitigated by the stimulus measures of the Government of Malta.
  • The strain on Malta’s open economy in 2020’s last quarter continues in the first quarter of 2021.
  • It’s expected that the implementation of COVID-19 vaccination and gradual lifting of restrictions in the EU will bring Malta’s tourism industry back on track.
  • In 2022, Malta’s economy is expected to expand by 5.4%. At that point, net exports will again be the main contributor to the growth of GDP. Domestic demand will make a steady but slower contribution.
  • The growth prediction for Malta is the largest considering all EU member states. The main contributor to economic recovery will be the tourism industry.
  • In 2021, it’s expected that inflation will rise to 1.3% in the backdrop of recovering domestic demand as well as increased demand for services in the tourism sector.
  • In 2022, going with a stronger economic recovery, inflation will rise to 1.6%.

So, Malta definitely looks like it’s going to have a positive trend in economic growth which will definitely open up greater opportunities for skilled international workers.

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Europol warns of fake COVID test certificates, countries on alert

Europol against fake COVID-19 test certificates

Europol against fake COVID-19 test certificates

Europol has issued an Early Warning Notification to alert on the presence of fraudsters selling fake COVID-19 test certificates. Cases related to this menace has been detected in parts of Europe.

This new menace is putting migration overseas a risky affair. Europol has drawn the world’s attention to this situation that involves even a forgery ring that sells negative results for COVID-19 to passengers at the Charles De Gaulle airport in France. This ring has been nabbed.

The travelers are charged between €150 and €300 for each document.

People indulging in such fraudulent practices have been apprehended in the UK’s Luton airport too. There, the authorities found fraudsters selling COVID-19 test documents for £100. These documents had names of genuine laboratories been faked on the certificates.

In the Netherlands, scammers were found to use messaging to sell fake COVID-19 test certificates for €50 to €60. Fake test results have been sold by fraudsters for even €40 and were apprehended by the Spanish National Police in December 2020.

Europol is short for European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation. The agency has issued its warning against these fraudsters taking advantage of the COVID-19 situation and has asked people traveling on a visitor visa or any other visa to steer clear of these criminals.

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The EU Settlement Scheme gets over 4 million applications

EU Settlement Scheme

 

EU Settlement Scheme

The EU Settlement Scheme offers EU, Swiss, and EEA citizens and their family members the opportunity to continue living in the UK even before the Brexit transition completes at the end of 2020.

The number of applications received under this Scheme has been over 4 million to date. The milestone for this Scheme has thus been achieved before the deadline, June 30, 2021. This was announced by the Home Office addressing UK immigration figures.

This achievement has paved the way for granting the status to close to 3.8 million people. It guarantees the rights of Europeans in the millions under the UK’s laws for the years to come.

Out of the 4 million applications in the UK, as per the latest statistics, the following is a detailed look at the number of applications filed from different regions of the UK:

  • 204,700 filed in Scotland
  • Close to 3.7 million filed in England
  • 66,300 filed in Northern Ireland
  • 67,200 filed in Wales

The EU Settlement Scheme began in March 2019. It began with processing 200,000 applications each day on an average. In October 2019, with 400,000 status grants, the highest number of applications was reached.

A support team with 1,500 workers offer assistance to the applicants the whole week via email and telephone. The following were the number of applications processed under the scheme from the Home Office.

  • August 2019 – 1 million
  • October 2019 – 2 million
  • February 2020 – 3 million
  • October 2020 – Over 4 million

Also, £4 million got allocated by the home office just for the marketing campaigns across the UK. This was meant to bring out the applications of European citizens.

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New EU migration pact to make immigrant movement easier

New migration pact to be developed by EU

New migration pact to be developed by EU

To attract more skilled and brilliant immigrants into Europe, the EU has proposed a new Migration Pact. This pact is made to enable bright people from third-countries to live and work in the EU.

The new pact intends to update the EU regulations applicable to regular migration. This is to make it easier for more skilled migrants to arrive in Europe. The new move is significant for Europe as it has to improve its capacity to attract such migrants in comparison with countries like Australia, Canada, and the USA. Considering that Europe has an aging population that’s shrinking and facing an acute skills shortage, addressing the issues on priority is of greatest priority.

The EU Blue Card scheme enables highly-qualified workers from non-EU/EEA nations to live and work in any EU member country. Now, it’s been planned to make it attractive and easier for highly-skilled third-country nationals.

Something similar is planned for EU’s Single Permit Directive, which is a regulation aimed at establishing a procedure of application for a single permit for nationals of third-countries to live and work in EU member states. It will provide a common set of rights for third-country workers who are legally residing in a member state.

With the new measures in the pipeline, the shortcomings and inconsistencies in the implementation of the directives will be identified to streamline, simplify, complete, and improve the EU legislation.

Long-term residence directive will be revised to strengthen the residents’ rights to work and travel in EU member states. Also, work will be done on an EU talent pool that was proposed by OECD in 2019. The obstacles standing in the way of making the pool an attractive one for international migrants will be removed.

The European Union Labor Force survey has revealed that close to 31% of working-age immigrants form the EU’s key workforce. Hence the new reforms will be taken to improve the situation in the EU’s migrant performance area.

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A look at EU through its population numbers

EU-population

EU-population

As of 2020, the population of the EU is close to 448 million. This was reported by Euro stat on 10th July.

The population in January 2020 stands at 12.8% lesser than January 2019. This was caused by the withdrawal of the UK from the EU bloc. The event lowered the count by 13%.

In pre-Brexit times, at the start of the last year, the EU recorded a population of 513.5 million.

With migration, the population of the EU was positive by 0.9 million throughout 2019. Out of 28 EU member states, 18 registered increase in population. Malta was in the lead. 9 states showed a population decrease.

The EU countries that registered the largest population increase were:

  • Malta (+41.7%)
  • Luxembourg (+19.7%)
  • Cyprus (+13.7%)
  • Ireland (+12.1%)
  • Sweden (+9.5%)

The EU member countries that showed the largest decrease in the population were:

  • Bulgaria (-7.0%)
  • Latvia (-6.4%)
  • Romania (-5.0%)
  • Croatia (-4.4%)
  • Italy (-1.9%)

Among countries that showed decrease in population were Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, and Greece.

The natural change or the birth-death ratio among the EU nations was negative. There were 4.2 million births and 4.7 million deaths.

11 EU states registered a positive natural change all through 2019. 16 states recorded a negative change. Bulgaria had the highest death rate and Ireland had the lowest death rate.

The countries that registered positive natural change at the highest levels were:

  • Ireland (+5.8%)
  • Cyprus (+4.1%)
  • Luxembourg (+3.1%)
  • Sweden (+2.5%)
  • France (+2.1%)

The countries that registered negative natural change at the highest levels were:

  • Bulgaria (-6.7%)
  • Latvia (-4.7%)
  • Croatia, Greece, and Lithuania (-3.9% each)
  • Romania and Hungary (-3.8% each)
  • Italy (-3.6%)

Migration overseas has also been one of the major factors that contributed to the shifts in the population patterns in the EU. With more relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, immigration is bound to increase and add to the population of EU.

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US nationals can now travel to EU from ‘safe’ countries

EU safe country list

EU safe country list

The EU is still not a welcome territory for the US as the EU has not included the US in its “safe countries” list. The safe countries are those third nations the nationals and residents of which are considered eligible to enter most of the countries in the EU.

But this decision is left to the individual member states. The EU has only made a recommendation regarding safe countries. For the US it’s still a distant chance to get recommended by the EU to enter its member countries.

Even then, US nationals have a chance to enter the EU states in another way. If a US national is a legal resident in any of the 15 safe countries recognized by the EU, such a person can enter the EU member states and any Schengen country. The only requirement is that the particular EU member state or Schengen member country should consider the migrant’s country of origin as a safe one.

Among the EU countries that consider US citizens as eligible to enter their boundaries include:

Denmark

US nationals living in the following countries, who have proof or it while arriving in Denmark, can enter the country:

  • Thailand
  • South Korea
  • New Zealand
  • Japan
  • Canada
  • Australia

Italy

US passport holders who are legal residents of any of the following countries and have been literally residing in one of these countries before arriving in Italy are allowed to enter.

  • Uruguay
  • Tunisia
  • Thailand
  • South Korea
  • Serbia
  • Rwanda
  • New Zealand
  • Morocco
  • Montenegro
  • Japan
  • Georgia
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Algeria

As soon as China removes the entry restriction on EU nationals, they too will be eligible to enter Italy. A US national who arrives in Italy from any of these countries will undergo quarantine for a fortnight.

Czech Republic

From July 1, 2020, US nationals who are residents of the following countries can enter the Czech Republic:

  • Thailand
  • South Korea
  • Serbia
  • New Zealand
  • Montenegro
  • Japan
  • Canada
  • Australia

These Americans mostly won’t need quarantine or negative COVID-19 results upon entry in Italy.

Germany

Nationals of the US residing in any of the following countries are allowed for German migration. These countries are:

  • Uruguay
  • Tunisia
  • Thailand
  • New Zealand
  • Montenegro
  • Georgia
  • Canada
  • Australia

In case Japan, South Korea, or China reciprocates the country’s permit for entry, then US nationals from these nations too will be allowed to enter Germany.

Switzerland

US nationals legally residing in any of the countries considered safe by EU Council, except Serbia, can enter Switzerland from July 20, 2020.

Portugal

US citizens residing in the following countries are eligible to enter Portugal:

  • China
  • Tunisia
  • Morocco
  • South Korea
  • Canada
  • Algeria

Spain

Spain allows residents of the following countries, including US nationals legally residing in these countries:

  • Uruguay
  • Tunisia
  • Thailand
  • South Korea
  • Serbia
  • Rwanda
  • New Zealand
  • Montenegro
  • Japan
  • Georgia
  • Canada
  • Australia

If China, Morocco, and Algeria open their borders to Spain, residents of these countries will also be permitted in Spain.

Besides allowing residents of certain countries, travelers of certain categories are allowed to enter the EU.

  • Highly qualified third-country employees provided their employment is essential from an economic perspective (the work cannot be postponed or performed abroad)
  • Those traveling for study purpose
  • Those who need international protection or for other humanitarian reasons
  • Seafarers
  • Those traveling for family reasons
  • Passengers in transit
  • Military personnel and humanitarian aid workers
  • Civil protection personnel engaged in their functions
  • The staff of international organizations and people invited by international organizations who must be physically present for the smooth functioning of these organizations
  • Diplomats
  • Transport personnel
  • Seasonal workers in agriculture
  • Frontier workers
  • Health researchers, Healthcare professionals, and elderly care professionals

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Stuck in Germany, Schengen travelers can stay till Sep 30

Schengen visa holders in Germany

Schengen visa holders in Germany

Germany has brought an ordinance to effect that assists those with expired Schengen visas to stay for an extended period in the country. The ordinance permits such people to stay who are stuck in Germany due to COVID-19 prevention measures. They can be in Germany till 30 September 2020, with no need to hold a residence permit.

This ordinance that is significant in Germany migration is applied to every foreigner:

  • Who entered Germany’s federal territory not before 17 March 2020, and stayed in Germany until 30 June 2020, or
  • Who were in Germany’s federal territory on 17 March 2020, holding a valid Schengen visa.

Germany’s Ministry of Interior has also decided to permit these people to find a job in Germany while they are staying back. The employment they may find could be one that is not treated as employment as per the Residence Act.

These people will be permitted to travel to any other country that offers them entry. But Germany must allow those coming from that country to enter into it again, allowing them to stay for up to 3 days until 30 September 2020.

The current ordinance comes behind an earlier one that had permitted stay till 30 June 2020.

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EU decides which third countries can enter it

EU third country conditions

EU third country conditions

On June 11, 2020, the European Commission suggested its member states to prolong the ban on entry of third-country citizens till June 30. It was a shift from the date earlier decided as till June 15.

The Commission has favored letting the third-country citizens to enter EU borders gradually and selectively.

A checklist to estimate which nations have got better with the COVID-19 situation has been made. The citizens of these nations will have a slimmer chance of spreading the pandemic.

The Commission has also recommended the same list as a base for determining the names of third countries that are safe for member states.

EU’s set criteria are used to determine which countries can initially join the list of eligible countries fit to travel, like on a visitor visa, to the borderless Schengen Area and EU. The epidemiological situation of individual countries will determine the entrants in the list.

The aspects that will be considered in such initial evaluation will be:

  • Testing
  • Contact tracing
  • Surveillance
  • Containment
  • Treatment
  • Reporting

In the second evaluation, measures taken to contain and prevent spread of disease by a country will be considered. These measures should help in making sure that a similar or better level of progress in the process of containment is attained compared to the EU.

The criteria here will be:

  • Is there travel advisory for this country in most of the Member States discouraging travel to it?
  • In relation to transit passengers, do airlines check if the country of departure is enlisted as eligible for exemption from travel restrictions?
  • Do airlines serving specific routes follow ICAO recommendations?
  • Do airports follow ICAO safety recommendations?
  • Are airports enlisted by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)?

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EU lists world airports as safe for travel

EU open airports

EU open airports

As it is necessary to learn which nations have opened their borders, it is important to know which airports have been identified as safe for travel considering the COVID-19 situation.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has come up with a list of airports that are considered safe owing to the precautionary measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

These measures even include enhanced disinfection of aircraft.

The list has been developed by coordinating with the EASA Member States.

The information based on which the list was made was from ECDC, WHO, and other public health institutes with reputation.

The list will be subject to regular updates in consultation with the abovementioned organizations.

The list has been prepared based on the factors namely:

  • reproduction index
  • number and size of the airports serving a specific area/population
  • cases in urban vs rural areas
  • deaths per inhabitant and trend of deaths per day
  • number of tests per inhabitants
  • the trend of active cases per day
  • the trend of new cases per day
  • number of recovered cases
  • number of active cases

The list of the chosen airports are as follows:

EU Member States, Norway, Switzerland, UK, Iceland, and Territories

United Kingdom
Stansted
Newcastle International
Manchester Airport
Luton
London City
Liverpool John Lennon
Leeds Bradford
Heathrow
Glasgow
Gatwick
East Midlands
Doncaster Sheffield
Birmingham

 

Spain (All airports in the following regions)
All airports in Stockholm Region
Sweden
Madrid
Catalonia
Castilla-La Mancha
Castile and Leon

 

Portugal
Lisbon Portela Airport
Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport

 

Poland
Katowice Airport (EPKT)
The Netherlands
Rotterdam The Hague Airport
Maastricht Aachen Airport
Eindhoven Airport
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

 

Italy (All airports in the following regions)
Piemonte
Lombardy
Emilia Romagna

 

Belgium
All airports
France (All airports in the following regions)
Ile-de-France

Third Countries

USA (All airports in the following States)
Washington
Virginia
Texas
Rhode Island
Pennsylvania
Ohio
North Carolina
New York
New Jersey
Nebraska
Michigan
Massachusetts
Maryland
Louisiana
Indiana
Illinois
Georgia
Florida
Connecticut
Colorado
California
Arizona
Alabama

 

United Arab Emirates
All airports
Ukraine (All airports in the following regions)
Kyiv
Chernivtsi

 

Turkey
All airports
South Africa
All airports in the Western Cape region
Singapore
All airports
Saudi Arabia
All airports
Russia (All airports in the following regions)
Yaroslavl Oblast
Sverdlovsk Oblast
Sankt Petersburg
Rostov Oblast
Nizhny Novgorod
Murmansk
Moscow
Krasnoyarsk Krai

 

Qatar
All airports
Peru
All airports
Pakistan
All airports
Mexico
All airports in the Mexico City region
Kuwait
All airports
Iran
All airports
Indonesia
All airports
India (All airports in the following provinces)
Uttar Pradesh
Tamil Nadu
Rajasthan
Maharashtra
Madhya Pradesh
Gujarat

 

Egypt
All airports
Ecuador
All airports
Dominican Republic
All airports
Colombia
All airports in the Bogota region
Chile
All airports
Canada (All airports in the following regions)
Quebec
Ontario

 

Brazil (All airports in the following regions)
Sao Paulo
Santa Catarina
Rio De Janeiro
Piauí
Pernambuco
Paraíba
Maranhão
Espírito Santo
Ceará
Bahia
Amazonas

 

Bolivia
All airports
Belarus
All airports
Bangladesh
All airports
Bahrain
All airports
Argentina
All airports in Buenos Aires Province
Afghanistan
All airports

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New biometric system to up safety across European borders

EU sign contract

EU sign contract

The eu-LISA is the European Union agency that takes care of the management of operation of large-scale IT systems to ensure freedom, security, and justice. It’s also responsible for the development of the Entry/Exit System (EES) and its operational management.

EES is a database that will replace passport stamps and improve the EU’s border security.

In a new move, eu-LISA awarded a consortium of Sopra Steria and IDEMIA a contract to deliver a new sBMS (shared Biometric Matching System). sBMS Is an important part of the EES. This move will lead to establishing the EES.

The contract lasts for 4 years, extensible to a maximum of 6 years.

The sBMS is going to be among the largest biometric databases in the world. It will contain information for more than 400 million third-country nationals. The information will contain facial images and fingerprints.

The new system is going to be a breakthrough in the way European borders are protected. The system will first serve the needs of the new European Entry/Exit System. This will check the migration overseas into Europe.

In the long term, the shared Biometric Matching System will make it possible to protect the external borders. The system will help fight against trans-border crime and irregular immigration.

The sBMS will also be resourceful to other EU security systems like:

  • European Criminal Records Information System for Third Country Nationals (ECRIS-TCN)
  • European Asylum Dactyloscopy Database (Eurodac)
  • Visa Information System (VIS)
  • Schengen Information System (SIS)

As soon as the EES becomes implemented, it will record entry and exit data of non-EU nationals crossing the external borders of the Schengen Area Member States.

All embassies or other authorities tasked with the processing of Schengen visa applications shall do consultation with the EES before allowing, extending, invalidating, or canceling a Schengen visa.

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