Moving to Malta has many advantages. The country uses English as an official language and is a member of the European Union. The Maltese Islands also offer abundant sunshine, favorable taxes, and a Mediterranean lifestyle.If you are looking to launch a business, take a new job, retire in a warmer climate, reduce your tax rate, or enhance your education, Malta is worth considering.
Malta has two official languages: English and Maltese. The use of English gives the islands an international strategic advantage.For those with English proficiency, the language’s official status makes it easier to conduct business. From healthcare and taxes to news and lifestyle, the ability to communicate seamlessly in English is a primary reason for choosing to relocate to Malta.While Maltese is the mother tongue of 98% of the islands’ inhabitants, roughly 90% of Malta’s population of over 420,000 also speak English.However, Maltese and English are not the only languages spoken. Malta’s close proximity and historical relationship to Italy has led to a fair amount of Italian being spoken.The island is home to a sizable number of non-Maltese nationals speaking different languages. Almost 5% of Malta’s population, or 20,000 people, originate from elsewhere in the world.Because of the country's proficiency in English, it is also a great destination to learn the language. There are a large number of language schools in Malta where you can learn English for business or pleasure.
Malta’s bountiful sunshine makes it a world class travel destination. With temperatures stabilized by the Mediterranean Sea, Malta’s climate is ideal for year-round outdoor activities.With January lows averaging around 9°C and highs of 31°C in July, the climate of this central Mediterranean destination is ideal for anyone looking to escape the winter snow.The islands receive over 3,000 hours of sunshine every year, compared to almost 1,500 in London and about 1,700 in Berlin.The average annual precipitation is about 550 millimeters, most of which occurs in the winter months.
Malta’s position in the center of the Mediterranean Sea is ideal for reaching key airports around Europe.Here are approximate flight times from Malta International Airport to a few major European hubs:
- London = 3 hours and 10 minutes
- Paris = 2 hours and 40 minutes
- Frankfurt = 2 hours and 40 minutes
- Istanbul = 2 hours and 20 minutes
- Barcelona = 2 hours and 10 minutes
- Rome = 1 hour and 25 minutes
Daily non-stop flights to and from Malta can be found for most major European cities.
The strength of the Maltese economy is an important consideration when moving to the islands. From the availability of jobs to the ability to raise capital to start a business, a healthy economy is often a necessary prerequisite before relocating.Between 2014 and 2016, Malta was the fastest growing economy in the euro zone, expanding more than 4.5% each year. In 2018, the gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow at 5.4%.The country weathered the 2009 recession due to a strong banking sector and a low debt-to-GDP ratio.Due to the islands’ size and population density, the economy is increasingly focused on services. The service sectors experiencing the most growth are tourism, finance, and online gaming.In 2017, unemployment was a low 4.4% and the inflation rate was 1.3%. The GDP per capita (PPP), or the market value of all goods and services produced in Malta divided by the population, is roughly €36,000.
Currency and Taxes
Malta uses the euro as its official currency. The islands joined the euro zone in 2008.The country’s tax structure is designed to appeal to high net worth individuals in strategic industries, particularly finance, gaming, and aviation. A flat tax of 15% may be applicable for qualified individuals earning an income between €85,000 and €5,000,000 a year. Any income above this amount is tax-free.Malta’s Global Residence Programme was also created to incentivize individuals from non-European Union countries to move to the islands. Under this plan, foreign-source income remitted to Malta is taxed at 15%. However, the person must meet certain criteria, including the purchase of immovable property of at least €220,000.The corporate tax rate for companies based in Malta is 35% on all worldwide income. However, following the distribution of dividends, shareholders can request a refund of the tax to avoid double taxation.
Visas and Citizenship
Malta is part of the European Schengen visa system, which allows for the free movement of people within the 26-country area on a single visa. This short-stay “C” visa enables you to stay in the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period.Longer stays in Malta require a residence permit from the Department for Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs (CEA) in Valletta. Depending upon the purpose of your long-term stay, you will need to fill out a form from the CEA. A full list of the forms can be found on the Identity Malta website.Citizenship is also possible in Malta. However, you must meet a number of criteria prior to applying. This includes living in Malta for a minimum of four years during the preceding six years, and being in the country for a full 12 months before the application.Malta also offers citizenship to individuals willing to invest in the country. To be considered, the investor must do all of the following:
- make a contribution of €650,000 to the Maltese government, which is then deposited into the country’s National Development Funds.
- purchase a property worth more than €350,000, or lease a property for a minimum of €16,000 annually.
- buy bonds or securities on the Maltese Stock Exchange for a minimum of €150,000.
Malta allows for dual citizenship. Although, this largely depends on your country of origin and whether or not they allow dual citizenship.
Finding a job in Malta depends upon your need for a work permit, or “employment license.” If you are a citizen of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you are exempt from this requirement.However, if you are from outside of the EEA, you will need to obtain a work permit. The application for the permit is submitted by your prospective employer to the Employment Licenses Unit of Jobsplus in Malta.When looking for a job, consider Malta’s strategic growth areas such as finance, online gaming, and tourism. However, the island also has significant amounts of economic activity in logistics, shipbuilding and repair, construction, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, and electronics.
Malta’s healthcare system is nearly universal and is organized at a national level. Roughly 65% of Malta’s total health expenditures are financed by general taxation. The remaining 35% comes primarily from out-of-pocket payments and voluntary health insurance.Malta spent 9.75% of its GDP on healthcare in 2014, which is above the EU average of 9.45%. The country has roughly four physicians for every 1,000 people — on par with Germany, Sweden, and Spain.European Union nationals visiting the country are covered under the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). However, non-EU citizens will need to acquire health insurance coverage before applying for residency.
According to the Central Bank of Malta, Maltese house prices nearly doubled between the years 2000 and 2015, growing by an average of 4.8% annually.Roughly 80% of all Maltese households are home owners. Of the remaining 20%, about 10% rent at market rates and another 10% rent at subsidized rates.In 2015, the average rental price for a one-bedroom apartment was €605, up 38% over 2012 prices.The average purchase price for an apartment in 2017 was €228,000. That figure is up almost 50% from 2013.Despite Malta’s balmy Mediterranean climate, it is wise to choose a property with both heating and air conditioning. This will help ensure your comfort during the intense heat of summer and the cooler, damper months of winter. You can find available properties for rent and sale among various real estate agencies in Malta, but we have handpicked some of the most exclusive properties in Malta as well.
Moving around Malta is largely dependent upon cars, buses, and boats. The government does not operate a metro rail system. There are only a few heliports on the islands and a limited number of bicycle lanes.Ferries connect the capital city of Valletta to surrounding cities. They also link the islands of Malta, Gozo, and Comino.The Maltese bus network is fairly comprehensive and affordable. Depending upon your residency status, prices can be about €.75 for a two-hour ticket.Driver’s licenses can be obtained to operate motor vehicles in Malta. If you are coming from a European Union country, you’ll be able to exchange your driver’s license after 185 days of residence in Malta over the past year.Exchanging a non-EU license for a Maltese license depends upon whether or not your country has a reciprocal agreement with Malta to recognize each other’s licenses. If no agreement exists, you may need to apply for a new license.
The U.S. Department of State has designated Malta as being a generally safe country and advises normal precautions. While some crime does occur, most incidents are non-violent and non-confrontational. Most activity is described as scams and petty theft, particularly of electronics and jewelry.The country is also rated as a low-threat location for terrorism and political, economic, religious, and ethnic violence. This includes LGBTIQ, with Malta having signed a law allowing gay marriage in 2017.Heavy rains can cause hazardous road conditions and the potential for flash floods. Rogue waves can be dangerous along the seashore during inclement weather.Malta is also subject to earthquakes. A magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck Sicily in 1693 CE and caused extensive damage in Malta.If you need emergency assistance, please dial 112.
Utilities and Internet
Malta’s electricity supply is 230 volts AC at 50 hertz. It uses a three-pronged, type “G” plug, similar to that used in Britain, Ireland, and Hong Kong. Adapters are affordable and readily available for purchase.Most of the islands’ electricity is imported from Sicily via an underwater cable called the “interconnector.” About 68% of all Maltese electricity came from Italy in 2016, with the rest coming from natural gas and oil. The main provider of electricity is Enemalta.
Malta’s municipal water is supplied by the Water Services Corporation. About 58% of the islands’ water came from three reverse osmosis plants in 2015. The rest was pumped from underground aquifers.The price for a cubic meter of water was over €2 in 2014. However, if you exceed 33 cubic meters, the price increases to over €5.
Internet and Phone
Telecommunications and internet access in Malta is dominated by three competing companies: GO, Melita, and Vodafone.GO had the largest number of subscribers in 2017 with a 61% market share. Melita had roughly 36%, and Vodafone had 2.6%.Malta has invested heavily in high-speed internet infrastructure in recent years. Fixed broadband subscriptions grew 6% in 2017. Today, over 36,000 subscribers have 100Mbps speed.
Trash collection is taxpayer-funded and is divided into two categories: black bag and green/grey bag.Black bag garbage is all items that cannot be recycled. Grey or green bag waste is recyclable, including paper, plastic, and metal.Pick up dates may vary depending upon your location.
If you are moving to Malta with children, there are a number of considerations.Schools are divided into public and private. Public schools are free. However, you’ll want to verify with your child’s prospective school how many courses are dedicated to studies of Roman Catholicism and the Maltese language. If you would prefer to opt out of these studies, you will need to coordinate alternatives with the school.If English language competency for your child is also important, you’ll want to verify the level of English being spoken in classrooms and on the playground.Private schools are either Catholic or independent. The government sponsors Catholic schools, enabling them to offer studies for free. Independent schools may require tuition payments.Vaccines are also required. Please visit the Ministry of Health’s website for a full list.
Importing your pets into Malta is subject to regulations based on the type of animal, its age, and country of origin.Dogs, cats, and ferrets that are younger than 15 weeks (105 days) are not allowed into the country.No more than five dogs, cats, and ferrets may accompany you into Malta.Visit Malta’s Ministry of Agriculture for more details.
Malta offers a number of social opportunities for expats. Try exploring Facebook groups and expat meet-ups to connect with others.If you have time, volunteering may also offer a chance to meet new people. If environmental preservation is important to you, try reaching out to BirdLife Malta, Nature Trust, and the Gaia Foundation.Sports may also be a social opportunity. Look to join a football (soccer) team, tennis club, or your local gym to make new friends.
Lidl, a Europe-wide grocery store known for its low-prices, is prevalent in Malta with at least eight stores.For a broader selection of groceries, housewares, and clothes, visit the Pavi and Pama shopping centers in Qormi and Mosta, respectively.Retail shopping centers and small businesses can also be found throughout Malta. If an internet search does not offer answers, start with exploring the Valletta shopping experience or try asking a local resident for guidance.You can also explore the towns of Sliema and St. Julian’s. There you’ll find plenty of shopping centers and shops.
Relocating to Malta can be an exciting adventure. If you need any assistance in your move, please feel free to contact us. We can help make the process smoother and more comfortable. We also offer a variety of services to get you settled such as finding a property, jobs and even corporate services for your business needs.