Report on state of Emigration for 1968

Department of Labour and Emigration
2nd March, 1970

The Honourable,
Minister of Labour, Employment and Welfare


I have the honour to forward herewith my report on the working of the Department of Labour and Emigration for 1968.

As in previous years, events of particular importance in the fields of Labour and of Emigration have been reviewed and commented upon under their respective subheads.

The increase in the working population which has characterised recent years has been maintained during this year too. The number of persons in gainful employment has marked a substantial increase while the number of registered unemployed continued to decline. Emigration too was lower than last year's. These are dealt with in more detail later on in this report.

There were no changes of policy regarding the activities of the Department and in the face of no small difficulties the Department has been able to render valuable service to all those who had recourse to it or where its assistance was needed.

I take this opportunity to thank all the members of the staff for their cooperation without which this would not have been possible.

I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,
(sd.) E. Vassallo
Director of Labour and Emigration

Emigration Division

Visits Abroad

During the year under review, the Hon. Minister of Labour Employment and Welfare carried out three overseas visits in connection with migration and employment opportunities for Maltese workers.

In April 1968, the Malta Catholic Centre in Victoria, London was officially opened by the Minister. This centre is run by Maltese Franciscan Fathers for the spiritual and social welfare of Maltese migrants in the United Kingdom.

During his visit, the Minister also met Mr Hattersley, the British Minister, and discussed with him the question of the entry of Maltese migrants in the United Kingdom.

In July of the same year, the Minister, accompanied by the Secretary to the Ministry and the Director of Labour and Emigration, paid an official visit to Libya in connection with the recruitment of Maltese workers for employment in He met the Libyan Minister of Labour and Social Affairs and following discussions held, an agreement was signed which stipulated, inter alia, that the recruitment of Maltese workers by employers in Libya should preferably be made through the Maltese Ministry of Labour, Employment and Welfare.

Finally, in September, the Minister, accompanied by the Secretary to the Ministry, visited Canada and the United States of America, where official discussions regarding migration from Malta to these two countries were held. He also met many Maltese who are happily settled in these countries as well as representatives of Maltese organisations.

The Director, accompanied by the Divisional Officer, Emigration, attended the twenty-ninth Council session of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration held in Geneva between the 25th and 28th November, 1968. He also took part in the sub-Committee on the Coordination of Transport of this Body. One might here mention the close relationsto Australia, Canada and the United States of America.

The Divisional Officer, Emigration, participated in the twentieth and twenty-first Meetings of the Special Representatives' Advisory Committee of the Council of Europe held in March and December as well as in the third, fourth and fifth Meetings of the Joint Committee on a European Statute for the Migrant Worker of the same Body held in March, in October and in December. He was also nominated to sit on the Working Party for the study of the present situation of over-population in certain regions of Council of Europe member states and attended the first Meeting held in June.


There was a considerable decrease in the rate of migration from the Island during 1968. The number of migrants to all countries was 2992 which shows a drop of almost 25% on that for 1967 which was 3971. In fact, th is the lowest recorded since 1947, when 2446 persons emigrated.

It can be said that emigration is motivated to a large extent by economic considerations. Malta is no exception and it is therefore fair to assume that the decline in emigration during the year under review was due to a consider-able extent to the better economic situation obtaining in the Island. In this regard, it will be recalled that the figure of registered unemployed persons dropped from 5387 to 4199 during this year as stated in another section of this report.

The comparative table below shows the number of migrants to the different countries during the last five years:













United Kingdom


















Other Countries












It should be noted that the above figures do not include workers engaged for seasonal employment. This form of labour movement accounts for quite a good number of workers, both male and female, proceeding to the United Kingdom from Malta. During 1968, the number of seasonal workers to the United Kingdom was 274, made up of 122 males and 152 females, compared to 258, of which 118 males and 140 females, for the previous year.

As the accuracy of this information is doubtful, it is felt that too much importance should not be attached to these figures but in the absence of more reliable information they serve to give a general indication of the returning migrant movement and, considering all factors, may not be wide of the mark.

The net Migration Gain for the last five years is shown in the table below:




Migration Gain





















In spite of the substantial decrease in emigration in 1968, the net migration gain once more exceeded the net natural increase in the population. This was the sixth consecutive year in which emigration has contribution to a decrease in the population of the Island. Although this has partly come about by a considerable reduction in the natural increase in the population in recent years, one must keep in mind that this reduction is itself due to some extent to the large scale migration that took place since the end of the Second World War.

The respect final figures for the last six years are given hereunder:


Net Natural Increase

Net Migration Decrease

Net Population Decrease


























For several years, Australia has not only been the country which receives the highest number of Maltese migrants, but has in fact accounted for over half of the whole emigration movement. This year has been no exception and out of a total emigration figure of 2992, no less than 1564 or more proceeded to that country. This is probably due in no small measure to the large Maltese community happily settled in this country, which forms a certain attraction to many a prospective migrant. The number of Maltese living in Australia is not exactly known. However, at the census held in June 1966, it was established that the number of persons born in Malta and living in Australia was 55,104. This figure does not include the children born in Austral.ˇia to these Maltese and as the large majority of them were comparatively young, it is certain that the number of persons of Maltese descent living in Australia today is really higher.

Of the 1564 migrants for Australia this year, 787 received passage assistance from the Australian Government under the Passage Assistance Agree-ment signed in 1965 between the Australian and Maltese Governments. The remainder did not receive any assistance from that Government. It should be made clear, however, that those migrants who are not assisted by the Australian Government do not normally have to make any additional contribution towards their passage to Australia as the Australian Government share is made good by the Maltese Government.

The large majority of Maltese migrants to Australia proceeded to the states of Victoria and New South Wales but a limited number went to other states as can be seen from the following table:



New South Wales


South Australia


West Australia




Australian Capital Territory  


Northern Australia


It can be said that as in previous years, families formed a good pro-portion of Maltese migrants to Australia. Most of them joined their relatives or friends already in Australia but about a hundred persons also proceeded under special schemes of the Australian Government. Of these, seventy eight men went to Australia under the ‘Unskilled Workers Project' while sixteen females left on the ‘Single Young Women Migration Scheme'.

Arrangements were made by the Department with the Intergovern-mental Committee for European Migration for the transportation of the migrants to Australia by sea and air and during the year there were five sailings and five flights. On this point, it is to be observed that today most of the migrants seem to prefer to travel by air. The Department tried to keep a proper balance between sea and air travel while keeping in mind the wishes of the migrants themselves. On the other ess of sea transport for carrying the migrants' heavy luggage cannot be ignored.

Migrants proceeding to Australia by boat were accompanied by a Welfare Officer and a Chaplain to look after their material and spiritual needs,

An important change took place in the travel documents of migrants proceeding on assisted passage to Australia. For several years, these migrants had been travelling on Documents of Identity and not on Passports. This was done with a view to more effective contsports as, apart from other considerations, it was felt that it could be of benefit to them if they held ordinary passports.

In May 1968, the Australian Minister for Immigration announced that the Australian Government was prepared to provide second assistance towards pas families and in consideration of special circumstances. Up to the end of the year, no Maltese had benefited for second assistance.

The Housing Scheme for Maltese migrants in Australia which was launched in 1967 continued to make progress. The scheme is at present limited to the states of Victoria and New South Wales, where the large majority of Maltese migrants settled down and during 1968 more Maltese in these two states obtained loans under the scheme in order to buy their own house.

One cannot fail to mention the close coordination that was maintained throughout the year between the Emigration Division of this department and the Australian Migration Office at the Australian High Commission in Malta, which helped in no small measure the smooth running of the emigration programme for Australia.

United Kingdom

The migration of Maltese to the United Kingdom continued to be governed by the proes not include dependents of holders of Work Vouchers and returning residents.

The number of migrants to the United Kingdom in 1968 was 638 compared to 856 in 1967. As has already been stated, this number does not however include seasonal workers.

During the year various firms' representatives came to Malta to recruit workers. It is worth noting that some of these firms have carried out such recruit-ment more than once, thus indicating clearly that they were satisfied with Maltese workers.

The applications of workers who wish to obtain employment in the United Kingdom and who are not recruited directly by the firms in the manner described above are forwarded by the Department to the Employment Attache' at the Malta High Commission in London. This officer then strives to obtain employment for them with various firms in the United uring the year to interview the applicants personally for assessment so as to be in a better position to find them employment in the United Kingdom.

Starting from the 1st January, 1968, a new medical procedure for emigrants to the United Kingdom was introduced. In accordance with the new procedure, which is compulsory for employment vouchers holders as well as for industrial trainees and seasonal workers proceeding to the United Kingdom for more than six months, the medical report by the Department's Medical Officer is referred to a Medical Referee who is responsible for the issue of the necessary control card which has to be stamped by the British High Commission in Malta for admission into the United Kingdom.

As in previous years, a high proportion of migrants to the United Kingdom this year was made up of single persons.


During the year of 752 registered in 1967. This was due to the fact that, a part from the general decrease in the applications by prospective migrants, emigration to Canada was also affected by the rather unfavourable labour situation in that country in 1968, presumably caused to some extent by the high immigration programme carried out by that country in the previous year. The result of that labour position was a higher rate of rejection of applications for admission to Canada and it is understood that this applied not only to Malta but also to other countries. This was rather surprising as it was expected that with the new Canadian Immigration Regulations, introduced in October 1967, the rejection rate of applicants would be lower. It is to be hoped that with an improvement in th

During the year a Canadian Selection Officer and a Medical Officer from the Canadian Embassy in Rome called at Malta eight times to carry out the examination of prospective migrants to Canada.

The approved migrants were able to leave on six flights arranged by the Department through the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration in Geneva. All but one of these flights were part-charters whereby more frequent departures could be made reducing as far as possible the waiting period for departure of approved migrants.

Most of the migrants proceeded to Toronto, where by far the largest Maltese community in Canada is settled. Unfortunately the movement to Manitoba started in 1967 could not be followed up particularly in view of the lower level of migration for Canada during this year and only a few proceeded to that state in 1968.

An official from the Department accompanied the migrants on each flight and remained in Canada for a few days in order to help them on their arrival and in their initial difficulties.

Close cooperation was maintained throughout the year with the Visa Attache' at the Canadian Embassy in Rome and his staff, who are responsible for processing the applications of Maltese applying to emigrate to Canada.

United States of America

On the other hand, migration to the other North American receiving country, the United States of America, wasly of this year and the first indications were that it will affect Maltese migration rather favourably. Under the new legislation, Malta no longer has a quota of its own but forms part of the global quota excluding the Western Hemis-phere.

258 persons emigrated to the United States of America in 1968 compared to 261 for the previous year. They proceeded to different st

The local processing of applications for migration to the United States of America continued to be carried out by the U.S. Embassy in Malta and this Department, working in close harmony.

Departure arrangements were made by the Department. In view of the fact that the number was not high, migrants were booked on the same planes flying others to Canada. In most cases the planes proceeded to New York but when this was not possible and the flight terminated at Toronto, arrangements were made for United States bound migrants to be flown from Toronto to New York on connecting flights.

During the year, migrants to the United States of America became eligible for the ‘Special Grant' and "Dependents' Allowance" provisions of the Emigration Assistance Scheme, whereby they were brought in line with migrants to Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

A new development in migration to the United States of America this year was the recruitment of workers from Malta by two American firms, ‘Hickey-Freeman them these two firms selected over forty workers who, it is hoped, will be able to leave for the United States of America soon.

Other Countries

The number of migrants to other countries during the year was 54 against 21 for the previous year. Of these, 19 proceeded to Libya while 6 went to New Zealand.

The prospects for the employment of Maltese workers in Libya was further gone into during 1968 and attempts were made at putting this recruitment of workers on a sound footing. In this connection, reference has already been made in this report to the official visit to Libya paid in July by a Ministerial delegation headed by the Hon. Minister of Labour, Employment and Welfare.

Although sixteen workers, with three dependents, proceeded for work in Libya throuor fruitful employment and that a more accurate assessment of the labour movement from Malta to that country will be possible in future.


During the year, arrangements were made for the vaccination against smallpox of prospective migrants, a requisite for migrants proceeding to Australia, Canada and the United States of America, to be carried out at the Emigration Division instead of, as formerly, at the Medical and Health Department. This was made possible by the posting of a permanent Medical Officer at the Emigration Division and it helped to further facilitate the necessary emigration procedures.

Malta Emigrants' Commission

Throughout the year, the Department worked closely with the Malta Emigrants' Commission, whose work covers different sectors of migrat Migration Scheme' for Australia and the recruitment of female seasonal workers by Messrs Smedleys Limited, of the United Kingdom.


Statistical information on Emigration for the year is shown in the Tables included in Appendix 3 of this report.

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