Updated: September 01, 2021 | 18 minute read

    Introduction

    Are you considering relocating abroad, but not sure which country to choose?

    Malta could be an interesting choice for your evaluation.

    As the smallest EU member state, you might not have heard about Malta before. But do not let that discourage you. Besides having one of the strongest economies, the lowest unemployment rates and one of the world’s best climates, Malta offers excellent schooling, healthcare and an overall safe environment. This makes life in Malta convenient to see the rest of the world quickly and on a budget. 

    Before discussing in detail what it is like to live in Malta, let us provide you with some facts about the country. It is a republic island in the Mediterranean, has been a member of the European Union since 2004 and also forms part of the Schengen Area since 2007. 

    Having formed part of the British colony, Malta has strong ties with the United Kingdom and is also a Member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

    It is a country with untapped opportunities where you could provide your family with a better quality of life along with a world-class medical and education system.

    Where is Malta?

     

    Where is Malta?

    The Maltese archipelago consists of three main islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino, situated just 95 km south of Sicily and 290 km from the North African coast.
     
    Malta is right at the crossroads of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
     
    Malta’s coastline is picturesque with many harbours, bays, creeks, sandy beaches and rocky covers. It takes about 2 to 3 hours to get to Malta by air from most European cities.
     
    There are frequent and direct flights to Malta from London, Rome, Paris, Frankfurt, Brussels, Geneva, Athens, Amsterdam, Madrid, Munich and Vienna, amongst others. Other frequent flights are also operated from North African and Middle East destinations.
     
    As an EU country, Malta’s requirements on visas fall in line with the EU policy. Malta also forms part of the Schengen area. Daily high-speed catamaran services for passengers, cars and heavy vehicles connect Valletta and Sicily. Other ferry services connect Valletta with Italy and North Africa.
     

    What is it Like to Live in Malta?

    What is it Like Living in Malta

     

    If you are one of those who appreciate history, culture, sunshine and beaches, you will love living in Malta.

    Malta has a picturesque coastline with many harbours, bays, creeks, sandy beaches and rocky coves and a rich history spanning over 7,000 years. Due to its strategic location in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, this small island nation has also played a crucial role in the making of history. Malta offers many cultural monuments, archaeological sites, and historical treasures.

    The small archipelago boasts a Mediterranean climate with more than 300 days of sunshine and a top-ranked healthcare system which has consistently been ranked among the top five in the world by the World Health Organization.

    As Malta once was a part of the British colony, the majority of locals are articulate in the English language, so interacting and blending in would be easier.

    For those of you who are used to the chaotic city life with long travels between home and work, living in Malta could be an unparalleled experience. Its tiny size places everything in close proximity.

    Along with high quality and standard of life, Malta has consistently been ranked as the 2nd safest country in the world in terms of its vulnerability to and the ability to tackle natural disasters by the World Risk Report. 

    So, if you are looking for a country that is safe and secure in a majority of aspects, then Malta could be it. The island also boasts one of the lowest crime rates to be found anywhere.

    Interesting Read: Discover Malta

    Living in Malta

    Cost of Living in Malta

    Improve your standard of living while trimming your costs. 

    Malta generally offers a decent and comfortable standard of living and is one of the most affordable countries to reside in as compared to other European nations. 

    The cost of living in Malta can differ depending on your lifestyle and where you choose to live.

    Generally, the expenses run low on the island. On a budget of €1,800 - €2,000 a month, you could live a comfortable life. 

    You could get plenty of wine, cheese, good cuts of meat and fish, and more by spending about €400 to €500 of that budget on groceries. As Malta is an island country, sometimes, imported products/goods can be a bit on the higher side.

    Delicious meals in small, local eateries can run between €10 to €15 a person and/or up, while you would pay around €50 to €55 for a splash-out, three-course meal for two.

    On average, utilities (water, electricity, fuel and internet) can cost somewhere between €100 - €150 a month. If broken down individually,

    • Essential utilities like Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage would cost €80 approx;

    • 1 min. of prepaid mobile tariff local (no discounts or plan) can be €0.25 approx;

    • Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL) would cost you €32 approx; and

    • One litre of Gasoline costs €1.34 approx.

    It may come across as expensive, but it is important to note that in Malta you are not required to pay any property taxes for things like infrastructure or sewer maintenance etc.

    Likewise, the transportation cost on the Maltese islands is also reasonably priced, covering almost the entire country. One way ticket of any public transport would cost you about €1.50, and a regular monthly pass would cost about €26 approximately. The standard tariff for a taxi in Malta starts from about €9 and then €2.12 approximately per kilometre.

    When it comes to renting a property in Malta, it could be one of the most variable costs, taking up most of the monthly budget. A rent of about €1,000 to €1,200 a month can get you a comfortable, mid-range apartment in Valletta, the capital city of Malta. You’ll pay even less if you choose something in the islands of Gozo or inland Malta.

    Adding to everything mentioned above, if you are living in Malta under a residence permit/work permit or if you are self-employed, you would be required to buy private health insurance. Depending on your family size and what you need, it could cost somewhere between €60-€100 per month approximately. A visit to the doctor could cost about €15.

    Here is a detailed price list of all the essentials for a comfortable living in Malta.

    Cost of Living in Malta

    Education System in Malta

    Relocating to a new country can sometimes be challenging for yourself and your family, especially when it comes to the children. One thing which can make the settling down process easier for kids is the school chosen for them. 

    The education system in Malta is highly ranked, and most of the schools follow the British curriculum with a wide range of subjects to choose/learn from. It is also mandatory for the children to attend school in Malta up to the age of 16.

    The schools in Malta can be divided into three categories, namely:

    • State Schools; 

    • Church Schools; and

    • Independent Schools.

    Along with Malta’s educational system being structured into four stages: 

    • Pre-primary (ages three to five), 

    • Primary (ages five to eleven), 

    • Secondary (ages eleven to eighteen) and 

    • Tertiary education (post-secondary education like college/university).

    State Schools in Malta

    Between the ages of 5 and 16 years, all the children in Malta have the right to free education. For this reason, education in all the state schools in Malta is free of cost. All the school materials, books etc. are free of charge as well and so is the transportation to and from school. The parents are only required to spend on the purchase of the school uniform.

    Citizens of non-EU countries are required to pay fees for all State Educational Institutions. They are required to carry out registration for all levels of schooling at the Ministry for Education and Employment (MEDE) in Floriana.

    Church Schools in Malta

    Church schools are regulated by the Ministry of Education and offer education from pre-primary to upper secondary level.

    All the church schools in Malta belong to the Catholic church, and as a rule and an agreement with the government, they do not charge any school fees. The parents are supposed to pay for the school supplies and uniforms and an annual donation to help the school cover its costs.

    International and Private Schools in Malta (Independent Schools)

     Malta has several international and private schools which cater to the needs of expats living on the island. Just like church schools, independent schools also fall under the domain of Education Ministry. The cost for the school supplies, uniform, transportation etc. has to be taken care of by the parents along with the school fees.

    Find the list of all the independent schools in Malta here.

     

    Specialist Schools in Malta

     Malta also has several schools for children with special needs. Such schools are equipped with everything and have all the resources a specially-abled child would require to progress and learn. The schools have specialist teachers who are trained to help children with special needs study.

     

    Exemptions from Fees at State Educational Institutions

     Citizens of non-EU countries can apply for exemptions, which is done through a special application process. This policy applies for exemptions from fees payable at several educational institutions.

    The board shall consider applications for exemptions from fees, if:

    • The applicant is a third-country national who has obtained a long-term residence permit or EU Blue Card;

      OR

    • The applicant is a ‘family member’ of a third-country national who has obtained a long-term residence permit or EU Blue Card and is entitled to equal access to education as Maltese nationals in accordance with the Family Reunification Regulations (LN 150 of 2007).

     

    Education System in Malta

    Healthcare System in Malta

    Malta displays very high quality and standards when it comes to healthcare services. Both private and public hospitals are modern, equipped with the latest technology in the medical industry and are backed by a network of health centres all over the islands. 

    Malta’s healthcare system has consistently ranked amongst the top five in the world in the world by the World Health Organization.

     

    Public and Private Healthcare System in Malta

    Mater Dei Hospital, one of the largest medical sites in Europe, is managed and run by the Government of Malta and is the main hospital on the archipelago. It offers both standard and specialist treatments via doctor’s referrals or through the emergency departments. Other than that, St Luke’s, the second most important hospital in Malta, provides a full range of services including transplants, open-heart operation, and psychiatric treatment where needed. There are several other public hospitals on the islands like Paul Boffa hospital, St Vincent De Paule hospital and the Gozo General Hospital.
     
    The Maltese public healthcare is funded through taxation and includes all types of treatment, ranging from surgery and rehabilitation to pregnancy and childbirth. The public healthcare centres are spread all across the islands, providing primary healthcare services to the Maltese people. Apart from nursing facilities and care and general practitioners, the health centres also provide a variety of services from proactive to reactive care. They tackle a wide range of issues, from ophthalmic clinics, gynaecology clinics, diabetes clinics, psychiatric clinics, physiotherapy, podiatry clinics, language and speech therapy and antenatal and postnatal clinics.
     
    In recent times, as more and more people have started purchasing private health insurance, the number of private health clinics and hospitals have increased on the island. The historic St. James Hospital is the longest-running private medical centre in the country and offers treatments from simple pathological tests through to cosmetic surgeries.
     

    Maltese Healthcare for Foreigners Moving to Malta

    Just like the Maltese, foreigners who move to Malta, have to pay National Insurance (NI) contributions to the social security fund. This works out to approximately 10% of the employees’ gross salary, which also applies to the self-employed.
     
    EU citizens who are travelling are eligible to use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and receive medical attention from public clinics and hospitals at no cost.
     
    Non-EU citizens are required to purchase insurance that covers medical treatments overseas, and ensures that it also covers medical evacuations as some policies do not.
    A good international cover would insure you against:
     
    • Medical costs in your home country (or another relevant foreign country);

    • Medical costs in Malta; and

    • Medical evacuation costs.

    Without proper insurance cover, these can cost thousands of euros.
     
    The medical insurance policies bought locally will not work outside of Malta unless requested or specified otherwise.
     
    All in all, the health care system in Malta is very well-respected, and residents are able to choose between the private and public systems.

    Language in Malta

    The official languages of Malta are Maltese and English.
     
    Maltese, the national language, is of Semitic origin written in Latin script that, over the centuries, has incorporated many words derived from English, Italian and French.
     
    For official purposes, both Maltese and English are recognized and given equal status and use in Government.
     
    Likewise, most business correspondence is normally in English.
     
    Other languages, particularly Italian and French, are also spoken by the population.
     
    Language in Malta
       

    Weather in Malta

    Malta’s climate is strongly influenced by the sea and is typical of the Mediterranean.
     
    The Islands have a very sunny climate with a daily average of five to six hours sunshine in mid-winter to around 12 hours in summer.
     
    Winters are mild, and summers are hot, dry and very sunny. Annual rainfall is low, averaging 600mm a year, and the length of the dry season in summer is longer than in neighbouring Italy.
     
    Sunbathing is quite possible well into the ‘winter’ months, and the peak beach season can last until late October.

    Economy of Malta

    With a population of around 450,000, Malta has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of €12.32 billion (as published by the National Statistics Office of 2018), generated by the following economic activities:
     
    • Agriculture and Fishing;

    • Manufacturing;

    • Wholesale and Retail Trade;

    • Transportation and Storage;

    • Accommodation and Food Service;

    • Information and Communication;

    • Real Estate;

    • Professional, Scientific and Technical;

    • Public Administration;

    • Education; Human Health and Social Work; and

    • Arts, Entertainment and Recreation.

    Sustained by continued rapid growth, the Maltese economy retains a relatively low rate of unemployment. The economy is dependent on foreign trade, manufacturing (especially electronics and pharmaceuticals), and tourism. The economic recovery of the European economy has lifted exports, tourism, and overall growth. Major markets of Malta are Eurozone, USA and Singapore.

    Film production in Malta is another growing industry, despite stiff competition from other film locations in Eastern Europe and North Africa, with the Malta Film Commission providing support services to foreign film companies for the production of feature cinema (Gladiator, Troy, Munich and Count of Monte Cristo, World War Z, amongst others, were shot in Malta over the last few years), commercials and television series.

    A relatively new sector in Malta is the aviation industry which has been prompted, amongst others, through the facelift of the aircraft legislation in Malta in 2010 relating to aircraft registration (the ‘Aircraft Registration Act’) and the implementation of the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and its Aircraft Protocol (the ‘Cape Town Convention’), ratified in February 2011.

    A number of airlines, aircraft/aircraft engine owners and other aircraft operators are organizing their aviation activities in Malta including, but not limited to, aircraft financing, leasing and management of aircraft, insurance, brokerage, aircraft maintenance, classification and surveying (e.g. Lufthansa Technik).

    Malta Tax Structure

    Tax in Malta is levied on the basis of residence and is charged on all income and certain capital gains.
     
    The combination of Malta’s tax system and its extensive double tax treaty network (over 70) means that, with proper planning and structuring, investors can achieve considerable fiscal efficiency using Malta as a base.
     
    Businesses set up in Malta benefit from the application of the full imputation system and the refundable tax credit scheme on profits distributed to shareholders.
     
    Malta also offers an ideal tax residency status for individuals through a number of schemes to benefit non-residents to base their tax status locally.
     
     
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    Conclusion

    For those of you who want to live in Europe, with the ability to travel freely in the European Schengen (border-less) zone, and have access to high-quality European healthcare and education and year-round mild weather and sunshine, Malta is the place to be.

    Malta has been a popular vacation spot for sun-starved northern Europeans and has attracted foreign investment through its tax-efficient system

    Malta has one of the lowest costs of living in the EU, stunning real estate and high quality of life. As a whole, these are some of the many reasons to choose to live in Malta.

    Explore your options for relocating and living the Mediterranean lifestyle with Endevio.

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