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Malta has been a popular jurisdiction for expats for many years. Warm weather, island life, and a thriving economy are just some of the reasons people are drawn to its shores. But what is living in Malta like and how does one go about relocating to Malta?
CSB Group provides top-notch relocation services to anyone interested in moving to Malta. These services range from getting residency through a tax programme to finding the right home and employment. Our team of dedicated professionals are equipped with the right expertise to ensure a smooth relocation to our clients and their families.
Moving to Malta from an EU Country
If you’re moving to Malta from an EU country, the process is relatively straightforward. As a citizen of an EU Member State, you have the right to reside, work, and live in any other member state. You will need to complete the process depending on how long you want to stay and why you live in Malta.
Moving to Malta from non-EU Country
Relocating to Malta from a non-EU country is less straightforward and requires special permits and authorisation. A number of residency opportunities can be accessed depending on your means, whether you have a job in Malta, money to support yourself, or you may have to invest locally.
Malta offers a number of opportunities for an individual to reside on the Maltese Islands. Interested individuals may qualify to obtain residency under different programmes, incentives or rules depending on various criteria. CSB Group can assist you with choosing the applicable residency permit and support you throughout the application process.
Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP)
The MPRP gives people the right to settle, stay and live in Malta permanently. To do so, they must invest in property and government contributions. The process takes around four to six months and requires capital assets of at least EUR 500,000. Visa-free travel and up to four generations of applicants are two of the main benefits.
Malta Global Residence Programme (GRP)
The GRP is a residency programme that allows individuals to benefit from a special tax status. It is designed for those who are not nationals of the EU, EAA, or Switzerland. To acquire residency in this way, the applicant must purchase or rent property of a particular value and pay a non-refundable fee.
The concept of ordinary residence, although not legalistic is not as challenging as domicile. Also, the term is not defined in our law and lends its definition from British judgements. In fact, it has been stated that a person is ordinary resident in a country by taking into account the duration of the individual’s presence in the country, frequency, regularity and nature of visits to the country, as well as business and family ties.
The Malta Retirement Programme Rules
By virtue of the inclusion of the Subsidiary Legislation 123.134 to the Maltese Income Tax Act, a special tax status has been issued for retirees of all nationalities alike, including third-country nationals, except Maltese, when remitting their pension into Malta. This means that a fixed tax rate of 15% will be due on the pension remitted, and the minimum tax payable shall be of €7,500 for the beneficiary and €500 for each of his/ her dependants (if any).
Highly Qualified Persons (HQP) Rules
The 15% income tax programme, known as the Highly Qualified Persons Rules (HQP), aims to attract highly qualified persons to occupy “eligible office” with companies licensed and/or recognised by the relevant Competent Authority such as the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) or with undertakings holding an air operators’ certificate issued by Transport Malta.
The Qualifying Employment in Innovation & Creativity Rules (Personal Income Tax)
The Qualifying Employment in Creativity & Innovation Rules were brought into force through Subsidiary Legislation 123.141, beneath the Malta Income Tax Act. This taxation scheme was mainly devised to attract to Malta, individuals working within knowledge-based industries such as iGaming, engineering, technology and product development in order to address the skills gap present in Malta’s labour market. An applicant who is deemed eligible for this scheme would be able to benefit from an income tax rate of 15%, upon satisfying the conditions of the Rules.
Key Employee Initiative (KEI)
The Key Employee Initiative (KEI) has been introduced by Identity Malta with the aim of facilitating the issuing of single permits, which incorporate the work and residence permits, to highly-specialised third-country nationals who seek employment in Malta.
The Single Permit Application (Work Permit)
The need for a Single Permit (commonly referred to as ‘work permit’) derives from the Directive 2001/98 of the 13th of December 2011 which specifies a single application procedure for a single permit encompassing both work and residency in the territory of a member state.
Nomad Residency Permit
The Nomad Residence Permit enables individuals who hold employment in a foreign country to retain their current employment whilst legally residing in Malta. The Permit is open to eligible applicants who can prove they can work remotely and independent of location, using telecommunications technologies. It is open to individuals from third countries, who would normally (but not necessarily) require a Visa to travel to Malta.
Citizenship by Investment
Those wishing to acquire Maltese citizenship can do so in exchange of satisfying a number of criteria that include purchasing or renting a property of a specific value, investing in government bonds, making a charitable donation, and paying applicable fees. This program gives the individual the right to live, work, and travel freely in Malta and the EU. The Maltese passport is one of the strongest in the world and brings with it a wide range of benefits.
Citizenship by Naturalisation
As of 21st September 1964, Malta became an Independent State. Consequently, the Independence Constitution amongst other matters, established who would be entitled to an automatic claim to become a Maltese citizen, whether it is by birth or descent.
Subject to certain conditions being met, those living in Malta for more than five years may apply for citizenship by naturalisation. While they are eligible after they have elapsed, such applications are rarely approved until over 18 years. The decision remains at the discretion of the government and is often taken on a case-by-case basis.
Citizenship by Descent
An individual born outside Malta whose mother or father was born in Malta to a mother and father also born in Malta can receive Maltese citizenship by descent. Maltese citizenship can also be acquired through marriage after a certain period has elapsed.
Cost of living
To live a comfortable life in Malta, including rental of a one-bedroom apartment, leisure activities, eating and drinking out, and all your utilities, you are looking at around EUR 1,600 a month. Of course, good quality of life can be achieved for less than this, or much more depending on your desired lifestyle. Malta offers lower costs than many EU countries but has the bonus of providing the sought-after Mediterranean lifestyle.
Income Tax for Individuals
Taxation of an individual’s income in Malta is generally progressive, meaning that the higher the income the higher the tax paid will be. The income tax rates on monthly salaries are also subject to type of employment, whether part-time or full time, personal status, that is, whether you wish to be taxed as a single person, married or parent and will also vary should you be eligible to benefit from any tax residency incentives such as those offered under the HQP Rules.
Renting property in Malta
Malta enjoys a robust and fast-paced rental sector. This means properties move on and off the market fast, but there is plenty to choose from. Prices can start around EUR 400 for a one-bedroom apartment in more rural areas and at about EUR 800 in a central location. The rate you will pay depends on size, location, and the features and amenities on offer. There are many real estate companies in Malta, including international brands like Malta Sotheby’s International Realty who represent prestigious property on the Maltese Islands and are represented by highly experienced and multilingual associates.
Hot rental property locations include Valletta, St Julian’s, Gzira, Sliema, Swieqi, Mdina, and Birgu. All offer a central location with easy access to business and transport facilities.
Water and electricity costs in Malta are quite reasonable and utility bills can be between EUR 80 and EUR 200 a month, depending on the season and your heating and cooling preferences. A good internet package averages around EUR 40 a month, but this depends on your requirements.
Tap water is safe to use, but it is not advised for consumption. Most of those that are living in Malta will buy bottled water or invest in a water dispenser.
Buying Property in Malta
Buying property in Malta is an excellent investment, especially for those moving to Malta. Malta is home to Special Designated Areas where foreigners (both EU and non-EU) can buy any property without permits or restrictions. If they wish to purchase property outside the SDA, it is generally necessary to acquire an Acquisition of Immovable Property Permit from the government. If in doubt or for further clarification, our regulatory consultants are able to assist.
Asides from this matter, the process is straightforward and requires the involvement of a notary.
Entrepreneurship & Business Community
Malta is a great place to set up a business. The country’s company law framework is flexible and welcoming. As a fully-fledged EU Member State, it offers a stable location for various kinds of companies. Those who set up a business in Malta can benefit from its tax imputation system, bringing the 35% corporate tax rate down to a net effective tax rate of 5% following the distribution of a divided to the shareholder through the Malta tax refund system.
With an approachable regulator, a highly skilled workforce, and a reputation as a jurisdiction of choice for big business names, Malta is an excellent place for entrepreneurs.
Working in Malta
EU citizens are allowed to work in Malta with no restrictions. As a matter of process, they must apply for a work permit that relates to their employer. This process allows payment of tax and social security contributions; it also means the individual can get free state healthcare and primary and secondary education.
Non-EU citizens need to apply for a residence permit and a work permit, and the two processes are linked. Usually, a job offer will be forthcoming, and the application process will start based on it. Simply put, non-EU citizens need a job offer as a reason to live in Malta, whereas EU citizens do not.
The documents required will vary depending on the individual’s situation. Typically, they will include passport, criminal record check, proof of address (rental contract), marriage certificate, work contract, and the submission of application forms.
In terms of jobs available, iGaming, blockchain, financial services, and auxiliary services for these sectors are the biggest employers for foreigners.
Malta benefits from a publicly funded health system. If you’re a citizen of Malta or a resident that pays social security contributions, you can access healthcare free of charge in hospitals. Free general practitioner services are also available at government clinics throughout the country. A visit to a private GP will cost around EUR 20, and they are usually accessible in pharmacies. A private specialist’s consultation starts at EUR 50.
There are also private hospitals available for non-emergency cases. While the quality of care in Maltese hospitals is generally good, foreign residents should take out health insurance when relocating to Malta.
Educational Institutions, Schools and Childcare Facilities
Choosing the right school for your children is key when settling in Malta with your family. The educational system in Malta offers a range of independent, church and state schools that are present throughout the island of Malta and Gozo. Some schools, especially the independent ones, favour English as a teaching language and for this reason, are preferred with those relocating from another country. Cost-wise, state schools are free and available for all students, church schools welcome donations at the beginning of each scholastic term and independent schools charge a fee that ranges between €3,000 and €6,000 a year per student. The educational system in Malta is highly rated and mostly follows a British curriculum that includes a wide range of subjects, regular assessments and mid-year and end-of-year exams.
Tertiary education in the country is mainly provided by the University of Malta which is one of the oldest universities in the Mediterranean. It offers a range of full-time and part-time degrees and diplomas and its primary language is English. The University is attended by around 11,000 students out of which 6% are international students. Foreign universities are also being set up in Malta or partnering with local educational institutions thus giving tertiary students more options.
For the younger members of the family, Malta offers a number of reliable and well-equipped childcare centres that ensure your child will receive caring and constant care. Applicable fees range from the centre to the other, however, the cost is typically cheaper than a private nanny.
Malta offers an exceptional quality of life. It benefits from more than 320 days of sunshine every year, and its winters are short and mild. There is rarely any extreme weather, and temperatures don not usually dip below 12 degrees. When moving to Malta, you’ll find communication easy as most of the population speaks English. Italian is also widely spoken, and many locals speak French and German, asides from the native Maltese.
The country has many historical and cultural sites, a good nightlife and restaurant scene, picturesque countryside, and is easy to get around. Crime rates are low, and Malta is a safe place where to live, work and socialise.
Infrastructure is also good. High-speed internet is readily available, and there are excellent transport links nationally and internationally.
Things to do
As mentioned, when living in Malta, there is no shortage of things to see and do. Malta is a country rich in culture, and despite its small size, there are plenty of museums and historical sites to visit. You can consider Mdina, Valletta, The Three Cities, various cathedrals, Ggantija Temples, Hagar Qim, Tarxien Temples, and the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum as the main attractions.
Malta is surrounded by sea, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to engage in swimming, snorkelling, diving, and sailing. Several boat racing competitions are held around the coast every year.
Asides from this, there are several high-end shopping centres, lots of beautiful restaurants, and many quaint seaside villages that are great for exploring.
Getting around in Malta
When moving to Malta, you might be wondering how you will get around. There are several options, and you might choose one or a combination depending on your needs. Public transport consists of a bus service that runs from Valletta and through most villages and towns. They run regularly from early morning up until around midnight.
Taxis are also a popular choice, and you can now book a journey via an app. You can also rent a car or buy a car, but traffic can be a bit congested during rush hours. Additionally, finding parking in central areas can be challenging, leaving many to use public transport instead.
CSB Group is your first stop to find out more about moving to Malta, relocating to Malta, or living in Malta. We have assisted entrepreneurs, businesses, and high-net-worth individuals in relocating and setting up in Malta for many years. Our highly professional team can tend to all matters, including residence and citizenship applications, tax consultancy, company incorporation, bank accounts application support, and much more. To benefit from our expert guidance and solid knowledge on a range of corporate topics, contact us today.
"I would recommend your service to any gaming company planning to set up a Maltese company as well as apply for a Malta gaming license."
LEADING LIVE DEALER CASINO COMPANY SET UP IN MALTA
Thank you for making everything run perfectly smooth for us. Your team looks after us as if we were their parents and they are everything one can wish for; accurate, fast and with a vast knowledge. We are very fond of CSB Group and we are more than content.
Retired Swiss Entrepreneur
I have been using CSB Group in Malta to register our company and our ship under the Malta flag, and have always been completely satisfied with their performance. They do an excellent job, are always punctual, and offer the most competitive rates in Europe! A young and Smart team! We have also involved them on occasion for extra legal jobs, and recently I am using their accounting service to fulfil the VAT requirement and to complete our balance sheets. I'm happy to recommend the services of CSB Group.
Kite Investimenti Limited of Cyclos II
We chose Malta as our new permanent home and CSB Group to help us through the residency process. They went way beyond our expectations treating our application as if it were their own. Their service was nothing short of stellar from understanding our needs preparation of the required documentation, and follow-up phase during a period with the sharpest movement restrictions. Malta deserves a place on every investor’s radar, mostly because of the surprising efficiency permeating the place, efficiency which starts with CSB.
As foreigners having our business located in Malta, it did not take long until we realised the importance of local know-how and the value of having the presence of a professional partner that could take care of juridical and financial matters. We can honestly say that choosing CSB as our advisor is one of the best decisions we have made. CSB always delivers great results in a timely fashion and we would give them the best recommendations to anyone that considers starting up their business abroad.
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