Malta is a state consisting of seven islands lying south of Sicily. But only the three main islands, Malta, Gozo and Comino, are inhabited. Its area is half that of Singapore and its population is almost 450,000, which makes it one of the states with the highest population density in the world. People from all over Europe want to move to Malta.
It is the smallest country in the EU, the currency is the Euro and the capital is Valletta. The official languages are English and Maltese (a mixture of Arabic, Latin and English), but Italian is also widely spoken and a large part of the population knows it.
Many people move to Malta, for many reasons, some for work, some for tax reasons. Malta is indeed known as “the Panama of Europe”. Another reason is the proximity to the sea and the good weather.
You can easily find work, especially in IT and in the hospitality industry, but not only. Also, there are many young foreigners who choose this island for an English course.
The cost of living has increased considerably recently and is not as cheap as it was a few years ago.
Move to MALTA
Non-EU citizens generally must apply for a visa to enter Malta. However, there are non-EU citizens of some countries who do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days. You can check this in the list below:
The most popular visa types are:
- Tourist visa: for third country citizens who wish to visit Malta
- Visitor visa: for third country nationals who wish to visit family members, relatives or friends.
- Cultural visa: for those who wish to participate in cultural, sporting or religious events
- Student Visa: for third country nationals who wish to stay in Malta for study purposes. Enrollment in a degree programme is a prerequisite for applying for a long-stay student visa.
- Work Visa: for non-EU nationals who wish to work in Malta. An employment contract is a prerequisite for applying for a work visa
- Self-employed visa: for people who want to start a business in Malta
Citizens of the EU / EEA do not need a visa to move to Malta, the identity card is sufficient, but once you have found a job, you must apply for a social security number. The application can be made directly online or in an office of ETC (jobs plus).
Later, you will need to apply for the eResidence Card. Within 6 months of your arrival in Malta, you must apply for the eResidence Card (if you are staying for less than 6 months, it is not mandatory to apply). You will need the Residence Card to open a bank account, buy a car and for other formalities.
To obtain it, you must present the following documents in original and copy:
- Passport or identity card
- Employment contract (if you are working), enrollment in a school (if you are studying), documents proving your financial independence (if you are not working or studying)
- Employment history approved by ETC (Jobs Plus)
- Rental agreement
- Social security number
To live and work in Malta, English language skills are essential, both in manufacturing and tourism businesses.
Moving to Malta, useful resources
- Living and working in Malta, small guide
- Working in malta, information about living and working in malta
- Malta, living and working, Eures guide
Move to Malta, finding accomodation
Once you are on the island, you will need to start looking for permanent housing. I advise you not to worry about this until you have found a job, so that you can rent near your place of work and not have to use the inadequate public transportation.
Malta is a very touristy place, rents in the most popular areas are expensive and prices are constantly rising. So it’s hard to find accommodation at reasonable prices in Malta, unless you move to less touristy areas, where rents go down but the chances of finding work are also lower.
Prices also depend on many factors: the type of apartment, the number of rooms, the area where it is located, etc.
Remember that winter is the best time to rent an apartment, because in summer, due to the massive presence of tourists, the number of available apartments decreases significantly.
You can hardly find a small apartment in the most popular tourist places like Sliema, St. Julian’s, for less than 1000-1,200 €, while in other places like Gzira, Msida, Birkirkara, Marsascala, St. Paul’s Bay, Bugibba, Qawra, Xemxija, Birzebbuga, etc. it is still possible to find apartments for 600/700 € per month. A single room in the most prestigious areas can easily cost 500 € / month.
The only happiness is the savings on heating, because in many houses there is no heating. In any case, remember that Malta is experiencing a bubble in the real estate sector and prices are rising rapidly and continuously. Rental costs are now on par with Northern European countries, but wages are much lower.
If you hire a real estate agent, you will have to pay a deposit of one month’s rent plus the agent’s fee (equivalent to half a month’s rent) when you sign the contract. The deposit will be returned to you when you leave the house, provided you have not caused any damage.
Do not blindly trust the real estate advertisements you find on the websites of real estate agents, because they are often not truthful and only want to attract customers.
Before signing the contract, check the humidity in the house, which is always present in Malta (check drawers and cupboards to see if they are damaged by moisture).
Moving to Malta, real estate websites
Here are the most popular real estate sites:
- Maltapark, classifieds website
- Franksalt, real estate agency, with properties all over the island
- Engel & Voelkers, real estate agency based in Malta
- Times of Malta, real estate section of the newspaper
Move to Malta, conclusion
Malta has a very good, free public health care system that provides health care to all Maltese and foreigners legally residing in Malta. The system is financed by social security contributions paid by all employers and employees.
Malta is small, but getting around by public transportation takes time. Traffic will cost you a lot of time, especially during rush hours. Therefore, I advise you to look for a house that is not too far from your workplace.
In any case, it always depends on what you prefer: paying a little less for accommodation but spending a lot of time in traffic every day, or paying a little more but having no problems. In my opinion, the best solution is to stay in a hostel for a few weeks and then find a room near your workplace.
As for the weather, it is true that summer in Malta is long, but many forget to mention winter. During the winter season, temperatures are never too low, but due to the high humidity that is always present in Malta, the cold penetrates into the houses, which are often not heated, and penetrates to your bones. So be prepared for this climate with the right clothes and be aware that it is usually much colder inside than outside the houses.
As for people, it is not difficult to build relationships with Maltese, as they are generally talkative and friendly by nature. Do not be afraid to strike up a conversation with the locals, you will be welcomed. To communicate with people, it is not essential to know Maltese, as everyone knows English.
In summary, Malta is an excellent place to live or retire due to its quality of life, good weather, rich history and artistic heritage, low crime rate, relaxed Mediterranean attitude, excellent cuisine, good social welfare, and free public healthcare.