Visa fees increase for some foreign workers, but service is 'faster … – Times of Malta

Workers from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will have to pay up to €400 for a visa before coming to Malta but the service will be faster with better checks, according to the head of Identity Malta.
Previously, anyone from these countries paid €100 for a standard procedure and €300 for a fast service. Now they will have to pay €200 for the basic service or €400 for the fast-track procedure.
The price rise comes as Identity Malta takes over the visa vetting process from the foreign affairs ministry amid a backlog of applications.
“It’s not fair to let people wait for so long,” Identity Malta CEO Mark Mallia said. Times of Malta has previously reported that prospective workers face a two-year procedure before being able to set foot in Malta and start their jobs.
Identity Malta’s takeover of the visa procedure will also increase due diligence, Mallia said.
C-visas that handle short-term trips such as holidays or business trips will continue being handled by embassies. However, Identity Malta is gradually taking over responsibility for D-visas that focus on longer-term stays.
Applicants will still also pay a non-refundable fee of €280.50 for a single work permit.
Students from across the world will see an increase in their visa fees too.  A standard visa fee will cost €100, up from the previous €70. Student visas can also be fast-tracked through an “extended student visa” costing €150.

A standard visa procedure will cost €200 and will continue to be handled by the foreign affairs ministry for the time being– Mark Mallia, Identity Malta CEO

The four Southeast Asian countries, which have the biggest backlog of applications, will be at the forefront of the shift. As of October last year, more than 9,500 Indian nationals and more than 5,000 people from Nepal were living and working in Malta, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana told parliament last week.
Applicants will still have to go through VFS Global, the company subcontracted by the Maltese government to collect visa documents, but more centres will open, meaning that applicants will have VFS centres close by, Mallia said.
However, visa appointments will be directly controlled by Identity Malta not VFS, the Identity Malta CEO said.
Sources close to the process said that “middlemen” in India have charged thousands of euros to move VFS appointments forward.
In October, Times of Malta also reported that workers in India were promised application ‘fast-track’ if they paid thousands of euros. Identity Malta will now have full control over these appointments, Mallia said.
Mallia said the fast-track process, labelled ‘Extended D-Visa’ will guarantee a visa appointment within eight weeks at first but will reduce to three weeks once the backlog clears.
A standard visa procedure will cost €200 and will continue to be handled by the foreign affairs ministry for the time being.
Mallia said that Identity Malta will soon begin handling standard visa procedures as well.
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