What is it Like to Live and Work in Malta
Many individuals would love to work in Malta. Why is this?
Malta is a tiny island in the heart of the Mediterranean, but it has fascinated many people. Many have fallen in love and decided to relocate to Malta to enjoy the traditional Mediterranean way of life, an exceptional climate and a professional business culture.
Picture yourself in a place where you can enjoy the Mediterranean lifestyle to the fullest, where you can have the highest living standards, amidst colourful local culture and a landscape steeped in history. If you ever thought about relocating to another country, Malta might be the right choice. Take it easy on the warm, friendly and centrally situated Mediterranean island, where the sea is clear and the climate mild. The proverbial eight hours work, eight hours play and eight hours sleep may not be easy to achieve in a big city environment where long commutes and even longer traffic jams eat away dwindling leisure times but living on a small island turns this fantasy into a reality.
Most expats in Malta cite the comfortable, relaxed lifestyle as one of the main reasons for their move. Nowhere is more than 30 minutes away from wherever you are and the sea, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, sports clubs or gyms are almost always within walking distance of your office or home.
But it is not only time issues that give Malta its edge over other European locations. The Maltese character is imbued with the British legacy of strong work ethic and powerful ambition, softened by the natural southern Mediterranean temperament. Doing business in Malta is both satisfying and pleasant because the same balance that adds value in terms of time is also present in the nature of the people you are working with.
Add to that the fact that the Maltese health service is one of the best in the world, the postal service works at a high level of efficiency, the infrastructure is robust and continually being upgraded, and schools, colleges and universities are among the best in Europe, and an already pretty picture becomes even more attractive. The cost of living remains one of the lowest in Europe, yet banking, taxation, insurance, social security, utilities and communications services are sophisticated, professional and reliable, often surpassing those offered in many European nations.
People and Places
Malta’s population stands at around 400,000, making it one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Most Maltese live in the satellite towns around Valletta, Malta’s capital and the country’s political and commercial centre, Sliema and the Grand Harbour, with only around 10 per cent in rural areas. The island has two official languages:
Maltese and English. The vast majority of Maltese people speak English, due largely to the country having been a British colony in the past Italian is also widely spoken, while French and German are also commonly spoken.
Moving to Malta as a Foreigner
As an EU nation that forms part of the Schengen area, Malta is open to any EU nationals, who are able to live and find great jobs in Malta. In fact, foreign residents are encouraged to settle in Malta and could benefit from a number of attractive fiscal advantages, as well as the very compelling lifestyle benefits.
For employees, working hours are generally 8.30am to 5.30pm and while salaries are still around a third lower than in the UK, all employees are given an annual pay rise based on the cost of living. Under Malta’s taxation system, individuals are taxed between 15 to 35 per cent of their income while individuals who are ordinarily resident, but not domiciled in Malta, are subject to income tax on income and capital gains arising in Malta, and on income arising outside Malta which is received in Malta. No tax is chargeable on foreign capital gains even if such gains are received in Malta. It helps that the cost of living remains one of the lowest in Europe, with groceries, furniture and utilities amongst the cheapest in the EU. For further details on tax one may look up https://ird.gov.mt/
Setting Up Home
Housing is easy to organise, with a wide range of properties available to rent or purchase, from fully furnished apartments to rustic farmhouses, villas with pools, and even palaces, all at competitive prices, usually half the price of similar properties on the UK market. Foreigners are allowed to buy property in Malta, though due to concerns about artificial price increases, they are usually limited to owning one property at a time on the island. The exceptions to this rule include certain five-star developments being built on the island, including Portomaso and Tigne Point, which are targeted to foreign buyers. For rentals, the market is varied and affordable, with options ranging from modern flats in upmarket developments, to elegant townhouses, seaside homes and sprawling rural estates. For assistance with real estate, visit Sotheby’s International Realty.
Healthcare and Medical Treatment
Malta has one of the best health services in the world and all EU nationals resident in Malta are eligible to receive free medical treatment at government-funded hospitals and clinics, though it may be necessary to produce your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The main general hospital is the state-of-the-art Mater Dei Hospital in Msida, while most towns and villages have their own medical clinics. While free health care is available for EU Nationals, the Maltese Ministry of Health advises all foreign residents to take out private medical insurance to ensure they are covered. In addition to the public health service Malta has several private hospitals located around the island.
Education and Schools
The children of expatriates living in Malta can be educated in one of the private international schools, or enrolled in the local state, church or independent schools. The local school system is based on the British model, and provides an excellent standard of education. Education is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 16.
Kindergarten facilities are also available, free of charge, for all children aged between three and five. Tertiary education is offered through the University of Malta, the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) and numerous private colleges affiliated to British, US or European Universities and educational institutions.
Leisure, Entertainment and Sports
Waters sports are extremely popular in Malta, where the climate and sea conditions are perfect for year round activity. There are excellent conditions for scuba diving and snorkeling, particularly as the sea temperature never drops below 13 degrees C (55 degrees F), even in winter. The best sites are on the northern coast of Malta.
There are also a number of highly popular spectator sports, including national water polo competitions, horse-racing, day pigeon shooting and football. Malta has one golf course, located at the Royal Malta Golf Club, which is adjacent to the Marsa Sports and Country Club, on the road to the airport from ValIetta.
There are a wide range of festivals celebrated in Malta. In addition, every town or village in Malta celebrates the feast of its patron saint with a big outdoor festival that often includes processions, band marches, fireworks, bare-back horse riding through the streets, singing and dancing.
Sliema, St Julian’s, Valletta and Hamrun provide the best shopping in Malta, with both stand-alone boutiques and retail outlets and shopping malls being available. International brands are widely available. While there are few designer-clothes outlets on the island, most major European high street clothing brands are present in Malta. Shops usually open from 9am – 1 pm and 4pm – 7pm and most are closed on Sundays, except for those located inside the Bay Street Shopping Centre in St. Julian’s, and some outlets in busy tourist resorts such as Bugibba.
Cuisine and Dining Out
Malta’s Mediterranean cuisine, based on seasonal fresh produce, is one of the healthiest and tastiest in the region and features many of the main ingredients typical of the region: aubergines, tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, onions and garlic together with freshly caught fish and seafood. Mediterranean herbs such as basil, mint, thyme, oregano and bay leaves are used in abundance, and flavours are enhanced by virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Meat dishes, pasta of all types, baked pasta and rice dishes are also very popular and feature heavily on traditional menus. Typical Maltese dishes include specialties such as rabbit, octopus, ravioli and bragioli (beef olives). A favourite Sunday lunch is roast pork and potatoes flavoured with onions and herbs. Maltese bread is exquisite, and the traditional recipe calls for sourdough and a wood burning stone oven. Traditional Maltese food is served in most restaurants offering Mediterranean cuisine, but in addition there are many specialist restaurants available: Italian, French, Chinese and Indian are the most numerous, but you will also find Greek, Turkish, Russian, Thai, Japanese and many others. Dining out in Malta can be a wonderful experience:
From smart city restaurants in Baroque palaces, to family-run trattoria-style places in quaint village squares or seafront fish restaurants in tiny fishing villages, the choice is wide and there’s something to suit every mood, and every pocket.
All This and More
All of this, of course, under a Mediterranean sun that sparkles on the cleanest and clearest water in the region, and that gives the island hot, dry summers, short, mild winters and gloriously warm spring and autumn weather. Does it get any better? Well yes, actually. The island offers a stable, secure environment for families and young children, crime is almost nonexistent, making Malta one of the safest places in the world, and the population’s strong Catholic tradition, evident in the hundreds of beautiful churches and chapels to be seen in every town, village or hamlet, bursts into joyous street celebrations with every feast day marked by processions, spectacular fireworks displays, band marches and general feasting. Malta offers residents and expats the unique opportunity to live every aspect of life to the full, with warm sunshine and sparkling seas providing an enchanting backdrop to a pleasant Mediterranean lifestyle.