Muscat calls for regularisation of ‘migrant workers’

Prime Minister says government will be looking at regularising asylum seekers working illegally which he says is driving Maltese people out of employment

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat called on Europe to find a long-term solution to the “historical phenomenon” of the refugee crisis and said that his government is in the process of regularising “migrant” workers in Malta.

Speaking at a Labour Party political event, Muscat said that the employment of unregistered workers was having a negative impact on Maltese workers and said the time was nigh to ensure that “migrant workers” are employed regularly and paid according to the law.

Describing the humanitarian crisis in Eastern Europe as a “European problem,” Muscat said “Malta will make it clear that a ‘free for all’ situation is unacceptable. We cannot send a message that Europe can take in everyone.”

He added that European leaders agree on a just redistribution of refugees and asylum seekers and insisted that Malta should take on Syrian refugees to ensure that Europe helps

“I believe that the best way to show consistency is to practice solidarity at all times, not only when we are in need. We need to do so because although we are not currently facing an imminent crisis, this could change overnight. If we are suddenly faced with an influx, we will be able to go to Europe and demand solidarity.”  

Turning to the forthcoming 2016 Budget, the Labour leader said government will be strengthening the country’s economic foundations and embody the virtues of hard work and planning for the future.

“We need to help the middle class grow,” Muscat said and citing the fable of the Grasshopper and the Ant he said the country needs to ensure that its future is secure.

With the opposition’s Independence Day celebrations fast-approaching, Labour stepped up its political events and in a speech at the party’s club in the Nationalist stronghold of Sliema, Muscat underlined the feel-good factor in the country’s economy which he said proved his doubters wrong.

“Although our job is far from over, jobs are being created and the economy is growing. This proves that we were right when we spoke about the need for a change in direction two and a half years ago and we are now reaping rewards,” Muscat said.

Highlighting the measures introduced by this government, including tax-cuts, the sale of citizenship, lower energy tariffs and the stabilisation of fuel prices, Muscat said “we have taken big decisions through which we are creating a new middle class.”

He also ridiculed the “negative” opposition over the accusations levelled at government over the increase of burglaries in Sliema and St Julian’s, with the Prime Minister saying that it was absurd to put the blame squarely on the government.

On the current debate on reforming the IVF law, Muscat said “I hope the opposition does not repeat the mistake it committed when it abstained over the civil union law.”