Until recently, third country nationals wishing to work in Malta had to apply for a work permit during Identity Malta’s opening hours. However, due to the volume of applicants, the Department implemented a ticketing process and a ‘first come, first served’ system, whereby only a limited number of tickets were issued every day, and only those holding a ticket would be able to submit their work permit application that day. As a result of this ticketing system, apprehensive applicants were queuing at 4am outside Identity Malta’s offices in order to secure a ticket and submit their work permit application on time.
In the wake of public indignity at the system, the Department has taken remedial action and is no longer limiting the number of applications which may be submitted on a daily basis. Applicants may visit the Department any time between 7:30am and 11:30am and anyone who arrives within this time-frame will not be turned away, and will be entitled to submit the application on that same day.
In a recent statement, the Parliamentary Secretary responsible for the Department has also made reference to a pilot project to be launched soon, for applicants to be able to submit their application whilst still abroad. 
Under the current system, if applicants are not in Malta, it is usually the prospective employer who attends at Identity Malta and submits the first set of documentation at the Department. Once the application is approved, the applicant arrives in Malta, whereby he/she will personally submit the remaining documentation.
Once this online system is launched, the employer will no longer need to physically attend at the Department, to submit the first set of documentation, but may use the online portal instead. This pilot project will eventually be applicable and extended to all applications submitted by third country nationals and not just limited to those applicants who submit their application whilst still abroad, according to the Parliamentary Secretary’s statement. 
Whilst many believe that this portal will ease the submission process and will reduce the queuing at the Department, is it the long-term solution we need, or will it bring delays and confusion as the human element of vetting applications on the spot is eliminated?
What do you think? Could Artificial Intelligence (AI) be successfully applied in this process?
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