Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Moving to Malta

There was a time that my wife and I seriously considered moving to Malta. Malta is perhaps one of the most underrated destinations out there. It consists of a small archipelago in the Mediterranean, off the southern tip of the boot of Italy. It never freezes and never gets too hot. It has virtually no pollution and very little crime.

Yacht Marina; Dockyard Creek, Grand Harbour, Malta
Grand Harbour, Malta
Photo by John Haslam


One of the many attractive features of Malta is the relatively inexpensive housing. Even a brief search of Malta properties shows plenty of places under €100,000.

The Lazzaretto, Manoel Island, Gzira, Malta
The Lazzaretto, Manoel Island, Gzira, Malta
Photo by John Haslam
Oh, wait, did I forget to mention how easy it is to move there? (Er, relative to other European countries, that is). Naturally if you're an EU citizen, you have the right to move there directly. However, what if you're not? There's always the standard work permit (ahem, "employment license") route. People with financial and IT skills are particularly sought after. However, if you're interested in the self-employment route, it turns out that you have several options.

  • An investment of at least €100,000. In relation to such investment, expenditure ought to comprise solely capital expenditure, which must consist of fixed assets (such as immovable property, plant and machinery) used for business purposes and this must be reflected in the business plan submitted with the application. Rental contracts do not qualify. Likewise, expenses such as salaries and legal fees cannot be paid from the €100,000 invested by way of minimum investment;
  • Status of a highly skilled innovator with a sound business plan, committed to recruiting at least three EU/EEA nationals within eighteen months of establishment of business;
  • Status of sole representative of an overseas company (with a sound reputation and established for at least three years abroad) wishing to open a branch in Malta; or
  • The holding of a directorship in a company forming part of a project that has been formally approved by Malta Enterprise, and which has been formally notified by the latter to the Employment and Training Corporation.

Valletta under evening clouds
Valletta, the Maltese Capital at night
Photo by Joshua Zader
Oh, and did I mention that 88% of the population speaks English? And despite Malta clearly being a first-world country, it's average income is about €16,000 a year, making it simultaneously one of the loveliest and least expensive islands to live on. Many people are choosing it as a place to retire and my wife and I hope to visit it at some point.

Like most countries you can't simply waltz on in, but you can get there if you plan carefully. It's definitely worth a look.