VALLETTA, March 28 (Xinhua) -- The Maltese government launched a new student visa system on Wednesday to streamline the process of issuing immigration documents.
The government hopes the system will make Malta a more attractive option for international students when compared to other jurisdictions.
One of the biggest challenges posed by the current system is the lack of a consul, or diplomatic presence in some jurisdictions, forcing potential students to travel to other countries or regions simply to apply for a visa.
Under the newly-revamped system, students will be able submit a visa application online and will be able to use external service providers already operating in territories without a diplomatic presence.
A data-sharing system administered by Malta's Education Ministry, the police and Identity Malta -- the agency responsible for the issuance of passports and other identification documents -- will ensure the system is not abused.
In addition to facilitating the process of getting to Malta, the new system will also provide students with the opportunity of working in the country from the start of their visit.
Working hours will be limited to 20 hours a week, with students completing a higher education qualification also being granted the possibility of extending their stay by six months.
In a statement issued by the Education Ministry, it said that the new arrangements would allow Malta to remain competitive, while retaining its talent of highly skilled third-country nationals.