Is the Maltese Economy Built on Non-EU Workers?


Malta buzzes with economic activity, much of which is propelled by a diverse workforce. Among the workers driving Malta’s economic engine are individuals hailing from beyond the borders of the European Union. Their role in the Maltese economy has sparked discussions and analyses among policymakers, economists, and the public alike. This blog aims to delve into various dimensions of the argument, exploring the impact and contribution of non-EU workers to Malta’s economic landscape.

A Significant Upsurge:

Over the last decade, the influx of non-EU workers in Malta has witnessed a tenfold increase, crossing the 50,000 mark. This significant upsurge showcases the growing reliance of the Maltese economy on the labour force from outside the European Union​1​.

Economic Model and Wage Distribution:

A close look at the wage distribution among non-EU workers reveals a telling pattern. A substantial majority are engaged in full-time employment at the minimum wage. This scenario reflects a tilt in Malta’s economic model towards capitalising on cheaper labour. Interestingly, a minuscule fraction of these workers (762 out of 52,106) earn enough to fall into the highest tax bracket of 35%​2​.

Addressing Workforce Demands:

Malta’s thriving economy naturally beckons for a larger workforce to sustain its growth trajectory. Established economist Philip von Brockdorff suggests that non-EU nationals have emerged as a viable solution to meet this burgeoning demand. This argument underscores the essential role non-EU workers play in bridging employment gaps and fostering economic vibrancy​3​.

Government Policies:

The Maltese government, cognizant of the impact of non-EU nationals on both the population and the economy, is reportedly steering its policies. Measures are being orchestrated to strike a balance; managing the influx of non-EU nationals to control overpopulation while ensuring economic stability and growth​4​.

Broader Economic Implications:

The narrative extends to broader economic implications. The presence of non-EU workers potentially affects wage dynamics, employment opportunities for locals, and the overall labour market structure. Moreover, it prompts a re-evaluation of policies related to immigration, labour, and economic planning.

Public Perception and Social Integration:

The discourse around non-EU workers also touches upon societal aspects. Public perception and the social integration of non-EU workers are crucial facets that intertwine with economic considerations. The social fabric of Malta, known for its multicultural essence, gets further enriched yet also challenged by the influx of workers from diverse backgrounds.


The dialogue surrounding the role of non-EU workers in Malta’s economy is layered and multidimensional. It traverses economic, policy, and societal realms, each with its set of implications, challenges, and opportunities. As Malta continues to evolve within a globalised economic framework, the discourse on non-EU workers and their impact on the economy is bound to remain a pertinent topic of discussion, exploration, and analysis. Through a balanced and holistic approach, Malta can harness the potential of its diverse workforce while ensuring sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

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