Asian couriers pay thousands in commissions to get Malta delivery job

A Maltese recruitment agency is charging €3,500 in administrative fees to workers being hired from abroad

Clarification: The original report erroneously carried a photo of a Wolt courier. The company in question is not linked with the contents of this report. This report has now changed from its original print format to reflect updated events.

A Maltese recruitment agency is charging €3,500 in administrative fees to workers being hired from abroad.

The administrative fee is charged over and above the Identity Malta fee, set at €280.50, as well as an Insurance and Health Screening at €200 and €300 respectively.

A first instalment of €2,000 is paid in the first stage of the application, in which the agency proceeds with the submission of your application to Identity Malta.

If the application is refused by Identity Malta, €1,420 is refunded back. The Identity Malta fee and a €300 administrative paper works fee are non-refundable.

In the second stage of the application, upon receiving the approval letter from Identity Malta, the applicant must send €1,980.50 in preparation of the visa application.

If the visa is refused due to “candidate’s personal issues”, the company does not refund back any amount.

According to the DIER’s website, the conditions of license as laid down in the Employment Agencies regulations provide that no fees are to be charged to applicants for employment, and no arrangement may be made for deducting any fees from earnings due to them.

Malta’s highly competitive landscape for recruiters of food delivery drivers, many of them hailing from the Indian subcontinent, has now thrown up a series of allegations which saw some recruitment agencies such as Recruitgiant reach out to MaltaToday for comment.

Recruitgiant’s Tomas Mikalauskas, also the director of the Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce in Malta, is one such company which also liaises directly with Indian agents to collect fees for employment licences, visas, health screening and insurance fees for prospective delivery workers. Mikalauskas denies Recruitgiant – which provides Bolt with its food delivery workers – makes thousands on such fees.

“Recruitgiant has a different business model than the aforementioned recruitment agency. It does not collect administrative fees from prospective employees and any necessary fees, if any, are paid to an Indian agent. Its business model is geared to ensure that employees are not subjected to exorbitant fees to come work in Malta. The company does not make any money off these fees,” a company spokesperson told this newspaper.

Mikalauskas has also denied that the alleged fees are diverted to a bank account for his UK company TPMS London, which is currently in dormant state and in the process of being struck off. He insists that no company related to him has any bank account in the UK.

Much of the allegations against such recruiters are based on claims that employees are not paid their full salaries and commissions, with recruiters keeping up to 50% of their earnings as ongoing commissions for the job they have secured the drivers.

Mikalauskas says Recruitgiant’s employees’ salaries are paid into their bank account together with a performance bonus that is based on fees generated per month. “All payments are in line with the hours worked and are representative of 100% of any earnings due to the employee. Any reference to a 50% pay cut from earnings due to the driver is completely untrue and unfounded,” he told MaltaToday.

Like Recruitgiant, other recruiting agents have been asked to meet up with union representatives and the Department for Industrial and Employment Relations to ensure they are fully compliant with Maltese laws. Mikalauskas insists his companies goes “over and above the minimum standards to provide all the assurances necessary. To date no irregularities of any nature have been flagged.”

The newly launched Employment Agencies Business Section within the Malta Chamber of Commerce has come out in strong condemnation of this practice.

The chairperson of the section, Lawrence Zammit, said that law enforcement in the area of private employment services is sorely lacking and that the Chamber’s objective is to ensure a level playing field in the market and an upgrade in the quality of service delivered to employers and job seekers.