Category: Local News

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The Impact of Immigration on the Economy: A Corporate Perspective

The influence of immigration on the economy is often subject to shifting positions influenced by ethical, social, and political considerations, which evolve over time. These stances are shaped by the kind of world we aspire to create and maintain.

For instance, opponents of immigration contend that immigration precipitates rapid cultural and social transformation, while those in favour argue that it can bolster a nation’s economic prosperity, as observed historically in the United States and various European nations.

From an economic perspective, those in favor argue that immigration is beneficial because it increases the workforce, encourages innovation, and provides a larger pool of workers to fill shortages in various industries.

Conversely, opponents of immigration raise concerns about potential adverse effects on local workers, particularly those in lower-wage positions, as foreign workers are sometimes subjected to exploitation, leading to lower wages and potential job displacement.

However, what is the verifiable reality?

At times, it is suspected that opposition to foreign workers in our country, beyond extreme nationalist sentiments and racism, may be driven by other factors. Some individuals view immigrants and assert that they are competing with locals for jobs. They see foreign workers as taking opportunities away from domestic workers.

I often suspect that those who oppose foreign workers in our country, aside from extreme nationalist elements and racism, tend to divert attention from other issues. They scrutinize the foreigners and claim they’re the problem. They observe a dirty environment, work related injuries, wreckless driving and attribute all of this to foreign workers.  However, I cannot help but notice that these are symptoms that don’t really differentiate between whether you’re Maltese or a foreigner, as everyone contributes, everyone tends to leave litter around, observe no safety protocols, and everyone refrains from lack of safety measures. The common thread in all of this is a lack of enforcement, and  when we refer to  foreign workers because they dispose of trash early or have poor workmanship, it’s just an excuse, as there are also Maltese individuals who engage in these behaviors. Often, foreigners may not fully understand the system and might need guidance, but Maltese individuals should not use this excuse because they are expected to know better what they should do. So, using this as an excuse to claim that our country’s economic model doesn’t work because it relies on the population or foreign workers.

It is essential to acknowledge that a substantial portion of foreign workers among us originate from EU member states. Therefore, we must distinguish between European and non-European workers. These workers bring varying skills, creating a demand for different types of labour.

It is undisputable that sectors such as tourism, construction, healthcare, caregiving, financial services, and information technology do not need influx of foreign workers to operate without hindrance. These are just few arguments that are frequently seen on social media, claiming that our country should impose some kind of cap on how many foreign workers can work among us.

It is crucial to recognize that companies employing foreign workers also hire local workers. This goes beyond simply maintaining the status quo. It means that if private enterprises, both local and foreign, encounter challenges in securing the necessary foreign workforce, they may consider compromising the viability of their operations, potentially affecting Maltese workers in the process, to preserve their positions.

Looking from a different angle, immigration inherently leads to a population increase. While this is evident, some fail to grasp its direct economic impact, extending to the daily lives of these foreign workers in our country. They contribute to various aspects of our economy, from housing preferences to purchases of products and services. This not only benefits well-established businesses but also creates opportunities for smaller enterprises to thrive.

When these foreign workers join the workforce, their diverse skill sets lead to an intensified economic impact, which has been previously elaborated. This expansion often gives rise to numerous new businesses, thus fostering job creation.

In the sectors mentioned earlier where labor shortages were noted, one critical field was inadvertently omitted- waste collection. Although it often goes unnoticed, it plays a pivotal role in every nation’s operations. We depend on individuals who, come rain or shine, travel kilometres daily to collect the waste we leave behind. While this may be a job that few consider, it is essential for every country. It ensures that our streets and roads are free of refuse, even though most take this service for granted. If we were to lose these dedicated individuals, we should contemplate who among those critical of foreign workers in our midst would be willing to step into their shoes. We should also consider how many of those claiming that foreign workers are usurping jobs and salaries from Maltese citizens would be willing to undertake this job. This extends beyond economic concerns, as it influences the overall cleanliness of our streets and roads.

We are currently addressing not just the economic aspect but also the social aspect, as I wish to imagine the condition of our public spaces and streets if the generated waste is not properly managed.

When someone proposes or supports a “capping” on legal immigration, it impedes economic development and poses a risk to other employment opportunities. Rather than limiting immigration, it is essential for our country to streamline the bureaucratic and cumbersome framework without compromising security, to facilitate the process for entrepreneurs, investors, and companies requiring skills our nation currently lacks. For instance, a small business owner operating a factory in San Gwann’s industrial area might contemplate closing their doors due to the unavailability of workers. Is this the kind of impact those advocating a different economic plan would want to see? What is that plan?

The success of any nation relies on inspiring its populace to aspire to an improved quality of life. Restricting foreign workers in fields where they are essential hampers this objective. Such limitations only hinder our country’s capacity to respond effectively to challenges in sectors like healthcare and other areas.

Another issue is the declining birth rate in our country, which continually fuels the demand for workers. It also implies that over time, with an aging population, we will become more reliant on social services, such as pensions, with fewer contributors. This underscores that the assertion that foreign workers drain our social funds is unfounded. It is crucial to remember that many of these foreign workers, after residing in our country for several years, are not entitled to a Maltese pension, despite contributing to the social security fund and paying taxes during their stay.

Hence, it is crucial to participate in a well-considered and tactful conversation concerning this intricate matter. It is undoubtedly necessary to ensure that this does not end up into a political issue simply for the purpose of advancing our own political agenda or criticizing the government’s economic policies. The outcome is clear, as recognized by credit rating agencies, the European Monetary Fund, the European Commission itself, and other reputable institutions with expertise in this field.

While there are undoubtedly negative aspects to consider, as previously mentioned, it is evident that when weighing all the factors, there is no doubt that, given the prevailing circumstances, no progressive nation can afford to shut its doors to immigration. We need not look far for a precedent. Just a few years after the Second World War, several European countries, such as Germany and England, faced acute labour shortages, which significantly contributed to their economic growth.

If we look at what happened a few decades ago after the Second World War, we have a vivid example of how the European economy thrived in countries like Germany, England, and others.

 

Mario Fava
President

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What should you do if you believe you were scammed?

If you believe that you have uncovered a scam or you were the target victim of one, ĠEMMA advises you to report this. Do not let the scammer get away with it. Remember that there are vulnerable people who may not have the knowledge you have and may be at a high risk of being scammed unless the scam is stopped.

The following are entities to whom you may wish to make the report:

Cyber Crime Unit at the Malta Police Force

You can contact the Unit as follows:Online:computer.crime@gov.mt; telephone: +356 2294 2231/2.

In person:  Call or visit any Police District station and lodge a report.  The District Police Officer will request the assistance of a member from the Cyber Crime Unit as required.

Your bank

If you are the victim of a debit or credit card fraud, contact your bank immediately. Do the same if you lose your debit or credit card.

The revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) establishes that if you, as a client of a bank, have lost or had your debit or credit card stolen, and it transpires that a fraudulent transaction has occurred after you notified your bank of the loss of your card, you are only liable to pay a maximum of EUR 50.

It is, however, important to note that you will not be entitled to any refund for losses relating to any unauthorised payment transaction if you have incurred such losses by acting fraudulently or by failing to fulfil your obligations with intent or gross negligence.

Complaints and Conciliation Directorate at the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority

You will find the website of the Complaints and Conciliation Directorate here.  You can contact the centre as follows: online:info@mccaa.org.mt; submission of an online form: mccaa.org.mt/home/complaint; freephone:356 8007 4400; and in person as follows: Mizzi House, National Road, Blata l-Bajda, Gozo: Elizabeth Street, Xewkija, Gozo

ĠEMMA has on 21st June 2021 signed a strategic partnership with the Local Councils Association.  Both ĠEMMA and the eSkills Malta Foundation are working the Association so that come October 2021, monthly public fora are held on scams and fraud in local communities.

Article prepared by ĠEMMA (within the Ministry of Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights)

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The 10 Commandments to protect yourself against scams and fraud

ĠEMMA strongly advises you that you follow these 10 Commandments religiously at all times to protect yourself from scams and fraud:

01Watch out for scams.   Scammers target you anytime, anywhere, anyhow.
02Do not respond.   Ignore suspicious emails, letters, house visits, phones calls or SMS messages – press ‘delete’, throw them out, shut the door, or just hang up.
03Do not agree to an offer straightaway.   Do your research and seek independent advice if it involves significant money, time or commitment, and get the offer in writing
04Ask yourself who you are really dealing with.   Scammers pose as people or organisations that you know and trust.
05Do not let scammers push your buttons.   Scammers will play on your emotions to get what they want, including adopting a personal touch. Alternatively, they seek to rush you into making a quick decision before you look into it. Remember there are no guaranteed get-rich-quick schemes!
06Keep your computer secure.   Always update your firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and buy only from a verified source.
07Only pay online using a secure payment service.   Look for a URL starting with ‘https’ and a closed padlock symbol.
08Do not hand over money and information to someone you do not know and trust.   Any request for payment by an unusual method such as wire transfers, reloadable cards, or gift cards that are nearly impossible to reverse or track is a tell-tale sign that it is part of a scam. And if you do hand money … it is rare to recover
09Protect your identity.   Your personal details are private and invaluable. Keep them that way and away from scammers.
10If you spot a scam, spread the word.   Tell your family and friends, and report it to: computer.crime@gov.mt.

In addition to these 10 Commandments, keep in mind the following:

  • It is NOT always true that companies, businesses and enterprises are always legitimate. Scammers can easily pretend to have approval and registrations when in fact they do not.
  • It is NOT always true that all websites are legitimate. It is easy and cheap to set up a website. And an enterprise’s website can be easily copied by scammers who will want to trick you into believing it to be genuine.
  • It is NOT always true that scams involve large amounts of money. Sometimes scammers target many people and try to get a small amount of money from each person.
  • It is NOT always true that scams are always about money. Some scams are aimed at stealing personal information from you.

Last year, ĠEMMA (www.gemma.gov.mt) and the eSkills Malta Foundation (https://eskills.org.mt) signed a strategic partnership to disseminate knowledge on digital financial capability.  Fraud and scams is such one digital financial capability.  Jointly we have issued 4 e-books on scams and fraud (https://gemma.gov.mt/ebook-download-page/) and Infographics (https://gemma.gov.mt/resources/infographics/) on tips of how to protect yourself with regard to over 30 different scams and frauds. 

ĠEMMA has on 21st June 2021 signed a strategic partnership with the Local Councils Association.  Both ĠEMMA and the eSkills Malta Foundation are working the Association so that come Octover 2021, monthly public fora are held on scams and fraud in local communities.

Article prepared by ĠEMMA (within the Ministry of Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights)

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Do you know how a scam works?

Recently we have seen a spate of scams in Malta – including phishing, romance fraud and business email fraud.  News papers have reported that one business lost nearly €90,000 as a result of a business email fraud and over €100,000 have been defrauded from persons scammed by the Maltapost phishing scam.

In summer of last year, ĠEMMA (www.gemma.gov.mt) and the eSkills Malta Foundation (https://eskills.org.mt) signed a strategic partnership to disseminate knowledge on digital financial capability.  Fraud and scams is such one financial capability.  Jointly we have issued 4 e-books on scams and fraud (https://gemma.gov.mt/ebook-download-page/) and Infographics (https://gemma.gov.mt/resources/infographics/) on tips of how to protect yourself with regard to over 30 different scams and frauds.  Both ĠEMMA and the Foundation have been disseminating these over their respective social media channels.

This is the first of 3 articles we are presenting on scams and fraud to make people more aware of what scams and frauds are, basic but important cardinal protection measures one should taken, and what one should do in the event that they realise they are scammed.

Most scams follow the same pattern – understand this pattern and it will be easier to spot. The way a scam works is described here.

The Scammer’s approach:  A scammer will approach you with a story designed to make you believe a lie. S/he targets your emotions and behaviour – a chance to make money, to find a partner, to help somebody in need. Invariably the scammer will dress him/herself as a government official, a company – including branding names you are familiar with, an expert investor, a government official, a lottery officer, a lovely lady.  The scammer will use any one of these approaches:

Email Still the favoured method. Cheap and a good way to communicate with many persons.
Social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), Dating sites, Online forum Social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), Dating sites, Online forum
Online shopping, classifieds, and auction sites These are used by scammers to trick you, with initial contact often made through reputable and trusted sites or fake websites that look like the real thin
Phone calls Calls are made by scammers to homes and businesses in a wide variety of scams, from threatening tax scams to offers of prizes or ‘help’ with computer viruses
SMS Scammers tend to send a whole range of scams, including competition or prize scams.

The scammer’s tools are designed to get you to lower your defences, build trust in the story and act quickly or irrationally and proceed to the final stage – sending the money or providing personal information.  The scammer’s tools include:

  • Creating a sense of urgency so that you will not have the time to think things through and make you react on emotions rather than logic.
  • Similarly, using high pressure sales tactics saying it is a limited offer, that prices will rise, or the market will move and the opportunity will be lost.
  • Having all the hallmarks of a real business using glossy brochures with technical industry jargon backed up with office fronts, call centres and professional websites.
  • Using your personal details to make you believe you have dealt with them before, and make the scam appear legitimate.
  • Creating counterfeit and official-looking documents – documents that appear to have government approval or are filled with legal jargon can give a scam an air of authority.
  • Similarly, using high pressure sales tactics saying it is a limited offer, that prices will rise or the market will move and the opportunity will be lost.
  • Contacting you regularly to build trust and establish a relationship.

Asking for money may be set at the point of contact or after months of careful grooming. Scammers have their preferences for how you send your money. Methods vary: wire transfer, credit / debit card, bank transfer, Bitcoin, etc.

ĠEMMA has on 21st June 2021 signed a strategic partnership with the Local Councils Association.  Both ĠEMMA and the eSkills Malta Foundation are working the Association so that come October 2021, monthly public fora are held on scams and fraud in local communities.

Article prepared by ĠEMMA (within the Ministry of Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights)

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