Are you looking to move to an English-speaking country that offers a relaxed lifestyle and plenty of sunshine? If so, Malta might be the perfect place for you!
Malta has become a popular destination for expats in search of work opportunities and a great quality of life. Before making the move, though, it’s important to have an understanding of what living and working in Malta will be like.
To help, here are 10 things you should know before moving to Malta…
Both Maltese and English are the official languages in Malta. In addition to its unique origins, the Maltese language is influenced by Italian, French, English, and Arabic influences. It is the most widely spoken language on the islands, and it imparts the local dialects of the villages and localities.
As a result of Malta’s geographical and cultural proximity to Italy, English is widely used on radio shows, signage, menus, and newspapers as well.
The Maltese lifestyle is relaxed and easygoing. The people are extremely friendly and will go out of their way to help you if you need it. Maltese have a strong sense of community, and crime rates are among the lowest in the world. Culture plays an important role in everyday life on the island.
There are a variety of events and activities taking place all year round, such as jazz, opera, and rock festivals, dance shows, art exhibitions, plays, museums, and many others. Nightlife centres around restaurants, wine bars, and nightclubs. Village feasts and fireworks displays are held regularly on the islands in the summer.
3. The Maltese climate
For those who love the heat, Malta is an excellent destination. The island sees over 300 sunny days each year. Though temperatures in July and August can climb higher than 30 °C, the humidity on the island is not excessive, so even the summers are quite pleasant.
Winters in Malta, outdoor temperatures rarely drop below 10 °C meaning that, even in winter, it is not unpleasant to spend time outside. Maltese houses are not insulated well and there is no central heating, so a pleasant 10 °C outdoor temperature can easily turn into a chilly 10 °C indoor temperature. Most places are equipped with electric space heaters or small gas units, however.
4. Day-to-Day Cost of Living
Due to their much lower minimum wage, Malta’s cost of living is generally much lower than many other European countries. Considering that two adults who share an apartment make €250 a month each, they should be able to afford groceries without being in too much danger of falling below the poverty line. Keep €30 per month aside for bus fare and €100 per month for utilities in your budget. Items are cheap here in Malta; you can get a beer for less than €3.50 and a shareable meal for about €45.
5. Maltese food
A destination’s food is one of its most important aspects – and in Malta, it’s a top priority. Bring a healthy appetite as the Maltese enjoy dining and follow a typical Mediterranean diet that features olive oil, tomatoes, fresh seafood, and pasta. Among Malta’s renowned foods are wild-thyme honey, strawberries, goat’s cheese, olives, and bigilla, a beloved bean puree.
Probably the most common street food on the island are pastizzi, which are flaky pastries filled with mushy peas or ricotta cheese. Pastizzerias are ubiquitous places where you can find them.
7. Getting around
Once you’ve figured out where to stay, register for a Tallinja card. You’ll get the opportunity to ride public buses at a cheaper rate, which will save you money in the long run. You can register for a Tallinja card online and it should arrive by mail in less than a week.
8. Maltese residency permit
Persons who move to Malta may do so according to the regulations that are most appropriate for them. Non-EU/EEA nationals can become residents if they apply through the Global Residence Programme. Those who are EU citizens can choose whether they want to become residents under the Malta Ordinary Residence System or they can opt for The Residence Programme Rules.
Maltese tax law will deem an individual as a non-domiciled resident of Malta either based on spending more than 183 days in Malta, evidence which demonstrates an intention to reside accordingly, or both.
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8. Finding work
Malta always has entry-level service jobs available, especially during the spring and early summer when tourism-oriented businesses expand their staff. A simple walk around a tourist area like Sliema during that time will reveal a lot of “Help Wanted” signs.
Financial services and online gambling are the two main industries in Malta, and these companies offer higher-paying jobs than most local companies. Additionally, international companies operating in Malta often need employees who speak foreign languages, which presents a potentially lucrative opportunity. The downside, however, is that there is no guarantee of success. Local employers usually prefer to hire local workers, if available, since they pay higher wages and have more skills than the local population. As a result, higher-paying, skilled jobs in local companies can be scarce.
Healthcare in Malta is free to all citizens and registered working residents so once you have your Social Security Number and your residence card you can visit healthcare centres free of charge. Of course, you won’t have these luxuries when you first arrive so it’s best to apply for a European Health Insurance card before you leave for Malta. This card is available to all EU citizens and you can easily apply for it online. What’s more, the card is free of charge so it won’t cost you a single cent.
10. Accommodation and Domestic Utilities
The cost of domestic utilities in Malta is very low, provided you subscribe to them on the same terms as locals (see our recent article for more information). Depending on how much you consume and how many people live in your house, you can expect to pay less than €50 per person for power and water.
In the last few years, rent prices have risen rapidly, and they are now higher than they have ever been. Governments have been urged to regulate rent prices, and there has been some responsiveness on their part, but it may take some time. If you are looking for a rental property in an ex-pat or tourist-friendly neighbourhood, you must be prepared to negotiate hard with any potential landlord. You can easily get a small apartment in Sliema, St. Julian’s, or Mosta for less than €700 per month. Be aware that prices also tend to increase during the high season in June and July.
A popular location, Malta offers a lower cost of living than other countries and a tight-knit community where you can truly make yourself at home.
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