Identity Malta and police to seek out visa overstayers in language schools

Identity Malta has been granted the power to conduct joint inspections with the police inside educational centres to fish out visa overstayers

The premises and places liable to inspection include any such building where third country nationals could be housed
The premises and places liable to inspection include any such building where third country nationals could be housed

Identity Malta has been granted the power to conduct joint inspections with the police inside educational centres to fish out visa overstayers and irregular residents pursuing a course of studies.

IDM’s reporting unit, which is entrusted with the inspection of illegally staying and illegally employed third-country nationals, will be empowered to inspect residence documentation and registers from school premises, private schools, and also residences where students are housed.

The premises and places liable to inspection include any such building where third country nationals could be housed.

Any person who attempts to influence the IDM reporting unit in the exercise of its functions risks a three-month jail term and a maximum €3,000 fine.

Persons who obstruct inspectors, refuse to comply with requirements, alter or destroy documents requested, or provide misleading information, risk a six-month jail term and a €6,000 fine.

Malta recently introduced a new student visa policy that facilitates the immigration process for non-EU citizens studying here.

Students from non-EU countries may require a visa in order to come to Malta for educational purposes. Such visas may be extended by a national visa or a residence permit, depending on the length of the course.

The new policy will allow English-language students a national visa instead of a residence permit, unless their stay exceeds one year.

The Ministry for Education, Identity Malta and the police will also maintain a system of data sharing on students and educational institutions.

Non-EU students pursuing a full-time course that exceeds 90 days, if leading to a higher education qualification, may take up employment for a maximum of 20 hours per week, starting from their first year of studies. Those who obtain a recognised higher education qualification in Malta may extend their stay in Malta by six months.

Visa overstayers can be a problem when loopholes are exploited: business visas to Malta for the purposes of creating a company allow 90-day stays, but the system can be used as a risky way of entering legally and then overstaying once the visa expires. Some business visa holders even file asylum claims simply to win more time and stay in Malta.

Corporate service providers in Malta can open companies within days. ‘Clients’ pool their family’s monies to raise the necessary capital to open a Maltese company – such as a branch of a family company – and secure a visa.

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