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Workplace Culture

Settling into a new job is always a little nerve wracking, especially so when you are a family of expats and the new job is in a new country. The etiquette of work in Malta varies from company to company just as they do back home. But overall, the work culture tends to be very similar.

The average working day is nine hours starting at 08-30 and finishing at 17-30. Just as in the UK, being prepared to work on when required is always appreciated. Similarly, while most companies expect you to use your own initiative as the project dictates, being a team player is considered a must for the harmonious running of the business. There tend to be few set-in-stone regulations within the workplace other than each member of staff has a clearly defined role. The sharing of information between staff members inclines toward direct, but in a polite fashion.

Unless of an urgent nature, business meetings are usually arranged with plenty of notice, often two or three weeks before the due date, with a reminder email or text a couple of days before the meeting. Again, similar to the UK work culture, in Maltese professional occupations punctuality is considered not just good manners, but expected business practise. If for any reason you might be late for a staff meeting, the relative parties need to be informed at the earliest opportunity, along with apologies for the inconvenience you may have caused.

The majority of Maltese are bi-lingual and English is the accepted language in business circles. When the meeting finally arrives it is handshakes all round, business cards are exchanged and small talk ensues until the meeting is called to order. Certainly for first meetings, addressing your opposite number by Mr, Mrs or Mss is normal business etiquette.

Other points of note; meetings and discussions tend to be somewhat formal, including disagreements. It is not done to interrupt, even if you disagree a point. Instead, wait until asked, and state your disagreement and reasons in a calm and polite manner. Also, meetings tend to run longer than in the UK, with often lengthy deliberations. On conclusion of the meeting handshakes are again exchanged all round.

Dressing down has not yet reached the Maltese office. Dress code for men and women is formal business attire, although in summer jackets can be removed.

Employment Overview

If you are considering a long term move within the European Union, this beautiful island may be a good place to start. With a healthy growing economy overall unemployment is low at just over 6%, with youth unemployment also low by comparison to other EU states at just over 13%.

As would be expected from a country with a vibrant tourist industry, most vacancies occur in the tourism and logistics sector, followed by IT, communications and estate agents. In recent years the island has also become a busy and expanding centre for international finance trading.

Compared to the majority of EU economies, the island’s is thriving, with a steadily increasing GDP since 2009, and unemployment levels below the average for both the EU and worldwide. Like so many tourist areas attracting a large proportion of British visitors, and with its long association with the UK, English is widely spoken and English speaking vacancies can often be found in all sectors. Large employers include trade and commerce buoyed up by its busy and growing Freeport, situated at Birzebbuga.

The island’s manufacturing industry comprises mainly of the production of electronic parts and toys, while the construction industry and financial services sectors continue to thrive. The island is also attracting large numbers of start-up digital entrepreneurs to its new internet gaming and software facility named Smart City, just east of the capital Valetta. Translation and teaching jobs are also regularly advertised for English speakers, although many tend to be seasonal.

EU Requirements to Live and Work in Malta

If you intend to emigrate to the island with your family, securing employment prior to relocating takes away a lot of the stress and worry from the move. Nonetheless, there is nothing stopping you moving to the Island and seeking work when you arrive. Working or not, if you intend to remain longer than three months you must apply for residency.

Regulations for Non-EU Citizens

For those not from an EU or EEA country things get a lot more difficult. Before arranging any move you must already hold a valid work permit, and the only way to gain this work permit, or employment licence, is to have a job waiting for you on the island. One of the best ways of achieving this is to work for a multi-national in your home country that has interests on the island, and then ask if you can transfer. Most vacancies are offered to Maltese first, then EU citizens, then the wider world, but it’s always worth checking job vacancy websites. The final option would be to invest heavily in a new or existing Maltese business.