3rd Reading and Parliamentary Approval of Bill No. 205 – Engineering Profession (Amendment) Act, 2021

The legislative process on the proposed Bill 205 has continued in Parliament through the Adjunct Committee of the Consideration of Bills which was held on Monday 12-Jul-2021 and 3rd Reading and Approval in Parliament which took place on Wednesday 14-Jul-2021.

As expected, the Chamber of Engineers continues to follow this process closely and has participated in the Committee Meeting scoping the Bill No. 205: Engineering Profession (Amendment) Bill.  Members of the profession are encouraged to follow the committee meeting through the Parliament’s media archive by clicking here.

During the committee meeting, the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects presented a motion with 3 amendments to Bill 205:

  • Clause 8: This amendment will ensure that the Government provides the Inġiniera it employs, including those in public entities, with the indemnity required with respect to their professional duties on behalf of the Government. This means that Government Inġiniera who do not perform private professional practice will not need to subscribe to professional liability insurance, and those who perform private professional practice will need to subscribe to such insurance solely covering their private practice. The Chamber held talks with Union Periti u Inġiniera tas-Settur Pubbliku and submitted its position favouring this amendment.
  • Clause 11: This amendment corrects Bill 205 to state ‘the Board’ in Article 16 as per Article 16 of the currently effective Engineering Profession Act (Cap. 321)
  • Clause 1: This amendment ensures that the new title ‘Inġiniera Act’ instead of ‘Engineering Profession Act’ is implemented wherever it occurs within the legislation.

The above amendments were endorsed given that these were developed in consultation with the Chamber. The 3rd reading of the Bill was subsequently carried out and following Parliament’s approval, the Bill has now gone to the President in order to be enacted into law. The law will then be published in the Government Gazette. Thereafter, the ‘Engineering Profession Act’ shall be titled as ‘Inġiniera Act’.

The Chamber reiterates that the Bill as presented in Parliament consolidates the role and status of the Inġinier and Inġiniera in Malta, safeguards the Engineering Profession Warrant and aligns the legal provisions as required per the infringement proceedings relating to the Services Directive and the Mutual Recognition Directive. In view of the frequent communications to members and public statements on this subject matter, members of the engineering profession should now be fully aware that the original concerns with the 2019 working draft of the bill, are now fully adressed making sure all engineering professionals are adequately safeguarded. This was only achievable by carrying out detailed reviews, expressing timely disagreements and engaging in constructive discussions and negotiations which enhance the credibility of the profession and the Chamber.

The Chamber is also closely following the civil court case instituted against the Engineering Profession Board about the amendments to the Engineering Profession Act. This court case started being heard on 19-Feb-2021 and remains ongoing with the next session scheduled by the court for November.

The Chamber takes cognizance of the claims made about the consultation approach adopted by the authorities but once again highlights that the amendment which has been recently approved by Parliament is robust and secure for the profession and society. The Chamber was able to give substantial input to the bill by bringing forward recommendations provided by engineering professionals, ensuring that the amendment presented no fault to the regulatory framework and legal standing of the engineering profession.

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