Malta is well known for its hot weather, long history, and for being home to some of the most gorgeous beaches in Europe. Situated between Sicily and the North African coast, right in the centre of the Mediterranean, it is no surprise that Malta is a popular destination for ex-pats. People from all over the world, including the UK, Australia, and Canada relocate to Malta every year.
However, before considering making a big move to a different country, it is important that you do your research and learn everything there is to know. So, we have put together this ultimate guide to ex-pat life in Malta. We will include all the most important topics, from the cost of living to employment, and property. Happy reading!
Cost of Living
Malta is one of the most affordable places in Europe and offers much better value for money when you compare it to other large cities across the continent, including the UK. While you will pay more money for certain imported goods because Malta is an island, living expenses are generally low. The cheapest way of living in Malta is to stick to local food and produce in supermarkets or from farmers’ markets. You will notice a substantial difference in the prices of food if you compare homegrown produce to imported goods. For this reason, branded personal and household goods can be more expensive, as they are usually shipped in from the EU.
But you will be glad to hear that eating out is slightly cheaper in Malta than elsewhere. This includes takeaways and local cafes. But don’t forget that one of the most attractive things about Malta is its beaches, and they are completely free of charge!
Property and Housing
If you are considering relocating to Malta, then it is important that you have a plan in place when it comes to where you are going to stay. General advice when moving to a new country is to rent for at least 6 months while you get to know the area, the way of life, and the property market. This gives you the flexibility to return home more easily if it doesn’t work out. Renting in Malta is super easy and there are no restrictions on foreign nationals. Most rental properties in Malta come fully furnished, from cookware to furniture and even cutlery! This can make the moving process easier for you.
However, if you have already fallen in love with the Maltese people and way of life and are looking to buy then that is also an option for you. Buying property as an expat is a straightforward process with many estate agents on hand to give you the support and advice you need. Malta has one of the strongest real estate markets in Europe and has a reputation for being lucrative and stable. Purchasing property in areas such as St. Julians, Valletta, and Sliema is a particularly great investment.
Generally, most foreign nationals will need to have a comprehensive insurance policy in place for at least a year to be granted a work permit or visa. However, for all citizens and permanent residents, state healthcare services are available. They can access state healthcare through a public insurance contribution system, like in the UK, or they can have their own private healthcare. However, the state healthcare services are only available to those who are working and making contributions to the scheme. Therefore, if you are planning to head over to Malta to retire or to live without work, then you will need private insurance.
Of course, getting your finances together before moving abroad is a crucial part of the process, therefore, we recommend that you get in touch with a tax specialist for tailored advice for your circumstances. However, Malta has become well-known for being a bit of a tax haven, which is another reason why it is so popular amongst ex-pats. It generally offers favorable treatment to ex-pats and has schemes such as the Retirement Program and Resident scheme in place. This allows foreign nationals to pay a 15% flat rate of tax on any income in Malta. Additionally, UK residents who receive a pension in the UK and then permanently move to Malta can have their pensions remitted to Malta without paying any form of income tax. Another reason why Malta has become such a popular destination with older adults is that the country does not have annual property taxes or inheritance taxes.
It is a big decision to pack up and move your whole life and family to a different country. But if you are going to do it then, Malta should be a destination you consider. From picturesque scenery to a relaxed and affordable way of life, you will only be left regretting that you haven’t done it sooner.