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28.04.2013 Permanent Residence Scheme to be Re-launched


The government will be re-launching the permanent residence scheme by the end of May, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said this morning.

He said this was a scheme through which many foreigners had been coming to Malta to invest and it had nearly been destroyed by the previous government.

Dr Muscat, who was addressing the Labour Party’s annual general conference quoted a foreign investor who said that when one came to invest in Malta, one was faced with two certainties - a very good regulatory system of financial services and a residency system that was very inefficient.

Dr Muscat asked how could people who came to Malta to invest be sent to queue for an ID card, for example.

So, for efficiency and expediency, all related services were being elevated to a government agency .

Dr Muscat said that a commissioner for simplification of rules would be appointed in the coming weeks in a bid to reduce bureaucracy.

The commissioner would have political power and an unequivocal mandate to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy he said.

The Labour leader said that his government would also be taking a good look at the problem of precarious employment.

He warned employers who had won government contracts and who were trying to exploit workers that such a situation would not be accepted. The government, he said, was observing these employers and would remember their track record if it was unable to take legal action. He noted that precarious conditions were mostly prevalent in security, cleaning and care giving jobs.

“You are still in time to show that that you want to work with us,” he said.

Dr Muscat also spoke on the case of transsexual Joanne Cassar who “had been slugging it out for seven years in European Court of Human Rights”.

He said that someone had used dogmatic reasoning to deny Ms Cassar her rights.

Labour, on the other hand, did not hesitate for one second to rectify the matter and this showed that the government’s heart was in the right place.

On the church-state agreement on marriage, which the government wants to amend to ensure that state laws take precedence over church rules, he said that the government had found an understanding in the church that showed that the two entities could work together.

Earlier, Dr Muscat said that Labour’s first big challenge now was shifting mentality from that of an opposition party to that of a government.

“Perhaps being in opposition was a comfort zone for some... but I don't miss it one bit, and nor should anyone else. We have a love of governing to do and decisions to take”.

Dr Muscat saluted former political leaders from both sides of the spectrum including George Borg Olivier, Eddie Fenech Adami and Dom Mintoff, who, he said, had remained a reference point for national liberation.

He had a special mention for Foreign Minister George Vella, wh, he said, had encouraged him in politics and his predecessor Alfred Sant, who had never interfered in any way in the way he led the party.

extracted from Sunday 28 April 2013

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