1. Culture and Language
2. Work Permits and Visas
3. Working Conditions
4. Health Insurance
5. Maltese Economy
6. Job Market
7. Salary and Tax
8. Cost of Living
9. Best Places to Live
10. Retiring to Malta
Malta might be small, but the country packs a lot of career opportunities into a compact space. This buoyant employment market is attracting job-seekers globally, and it is not just the chance of a dream career that appeals; the island nation is the gateway to a Mediterranean lifestyle. Most of the year, Malta has beautiful weather; throw in great beaches, country walks and ancient architecture, along with a vibrant bar and restaurant scene, and you’ve got yourself a very appealing work-life balance. If you’ve been thinking of swapping your current 9 to 5 for a taste of island life, this is what you need to know:
1. CULTURE AND LANGUAGE
The Maltese are friendly, welcoming people and since offices tend to be relatively small, you’re likely to make friends quickly. The island is booming and you get the distinct feeling that with hard work and vision, anything is possible here.
Anglophones are in luck because English is an official language, along with Maltese. Most local people speak English well so it’s perfectly possible to live and work here without learning Maltese (although everyone will be very impressed if you do... once they get over the shock!)
2. WORK PERMITS AND VISAS
So, what paperwork do you need to live and work in the land of festas, fireworks and fantastic bread (or hobz as we call it here)? Well, that depends where you’re coming from….
For EU, EFTA, EEA citizens*, living and working under the sun in Malta is just a plane ride away - you don’t need a visa to work. You will, however, have to apply for an ID card after 3 months or when you begin work. Find out more information here.
*EU, EFTA, EEA countries are outlined here.
Post Brexit, the long term rules for UK citizens are still unclear but so far, there are no changes to UK residents’ rights to live and work in Malta. We hope that will continue – watch this space for new updates!
For everyone else, it’s a little more tricky. Most people will be able to get a tourist visa to visit, usually for up to 90 days. However, to work, you will need a job offer, and your potential employer must apply for an employment licence. That requires them to advertise the job and confirm that no appropriate Maltese, EU, EEA or EFTA candidate applied. This can be challenging but is not impossible.
- Malta Individual Investor Programme (Miip): Got some cash in the bank? If so, there is another path to life and work in Malta. The Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) allows you to become a Maltese citizen (subject to certain conditions and an annual cap) for a cost of €650,000 (€25,000 for spouses / dependents), plus a five year investment of €150,000 in government authorised stocks or bonds. You will also need to buy a property for €350,000+, or rent a property that costs €16,000+ annually for a minimum of five years. Lastly, you’ll have to spend the year before naturalisation in Malta. Find out more here.
- Tourist (Schengen) Visas: A short stay tourist visa (known as a Schengen Visa) allows you to enter Malta for up to 90 days for tourism or business. It is not a work permit. You risk a fine, deportation and/or a ban from re-entering the European Union if you work or overstay that visitor visa.
- Student Visas: EU and EEA/EFTA citizens can study and work in Malta without a visa. If you’re from another country, you can apply for a visa to study in Malta, which will also allow you to work limited hours (subject to conditions). You must sign up for either an English-language course at an ELT licensed school, or MQRIC approved course, and your course must last for more than 90 days. You can then work for up to 20 hours per week. Some university students can also stay for 6 months after graduation to look for work. Remember that you must keep up your attendance and course work, or your visa may be revoked. You’ll need to request a work permit with Jobsplus and there are other requirements. The full details are here. To study at the university you will need to prove your proficiency in English with a test by TOEFL, IELTS, or Cambridge. Find out more here.
3. WORKING CONDITIONS
The usual Maltese work week is 40 hours, and the legal maximum is 48 hours (unless you agree otherwise with your employer). That extra eight hours is generally paid as overtime.
Most people are in the office from 8 to 5, but government employees may have different hours, particularly in summer.
Holiday (vacation) time 2019 entitlement is 26 days (208 hours) and there are 14 public holidays.
Malta has a social security system. Employees and employers both contribute. Find out more here. You are generally entitled to two weeks of sick leave annually and must provide a medical certificate. After those 2 weeks, social security may pay you sickness benefit depending on the contributions that you have made.
Women get 14 paid weeks of maternity leave and 4 weeks unpaid.
A six month probation is the norm, although if you have a high salary, it could be longer. During that probation, your employer does not need to give a reason to sack (fire) you.
Beyond probation, the notice period to end your employment depends on how long you’ve been there. Find out more here.
4. HEALTH INSURANCE
Currency: Malta uses the Euro
6. JOB MARKET
The job market for IT specialists is very healthy in Malta – you should have no trouble picking up work. Likewise, pharmaceutical, medical, legal and financial experts will find job hunting fairly straight forward. Online betting is massive on the islands; Cryptocurrency, Fintech and Blockchain industries are also on the rise, so expect to find plenty of opportunities there. If you’re a travel professional, you’ll find a niche too - tourism arrivals have been rising year after year. Even beyond those sectors, there are lots of jobs , but you might need to search a bit harder and be prepared to compromise.
There are a huge number of international and national companies in Malta. Some of the biggest and the best are:
Banks: HSBC Malta, Bank of Valletta, APS
Financial Services: Maitland Group, Alter Domus, DeVere, Deloitte
Insurance: Mapfre Middlesea
Online Gaming / Betting: Bettson, Kindred Group, Tipico, Unibet, Casumo Casino, Mr. Green Casino
Telecommunications: Go, Melita, Vodafone Malta, One
Travel: SMS Mondial, Britannia Tours, Air Malta, FCM Travel Solutions, Hamilton Travel
Other: M. Demajo, Simonds Farsons Cisk, University of Malta, BMIT (data and cloud), Konnekt,
7. SALARY AND TAX
Wages are lower in Malta than in some Western countries (although exceptions include the gaming, financial and insurance industries). Job seekers need to balance salary expectations against a relatively cheaper cost of living.
To give you an idea, the 2018 figures from the National Office of Statistics put the average annual wage at €18,643, with managers earning an average €34,291 and a Financial Executive bringing in well over €50,000. An IT Director can expect a three figure salary and the CEO of a gaming company might earn well over €200,000.
At the other end of the scale, basic workers earn around €12,922 annually and the minimum wage is €172.51 per week for over 18s in 2018.
8. COST OF LIVING
Malta is still refreshingly cheap especially if you’re coming from a big city in Western Europe, although there’s no doubt that prices are on the rise. Still, you can find a decent 1 bedroom place to rent in the capital Valletta for around €600 – €1,000+, while a three bedroom in a rural location will set you back around €900 to €1000. Highly sought after locations will, of course, cost much more. Basic utilities come to at least €80-120 a month and internet costs around €30 monthly. Preschool will set you back about €350 monthly and a year of private school at primary level is €7000.
You can get a pint of beer for €2.50, a main course in a cheap restaurant for €12, a three course meal in a good restaurant for €50 and a cappuccino on a lovely outdoor patio by the sea for around €2 (did I mention that life is lived outdoors here?) When it comes to groceries, a loaf of bread is €0.87, and a dozen eggs costs €2.25.
*[figures from numbeo.com]
9. BEST PLACES TO LIVE
If you don’t have a daily commute to Valletta or the Sliema area, you might consider living further north. St. Paul’s Bay, Xemxija and Mellieha are delightful locations, but you must consider the traffic going South.
Some of the cheapest accommodation can be found in Marsaskala and Marsaxlokk and there are still bargains to be had in the Three Cities outside Valletta (Birgu, Conspicua and Senglea). If you want to be in the heart of a traditional Maltese town / village, try Rabat, Lija, Mosta, Gharghur or Mgarr. Lastly, if you’re able to work from home and want to live somewhere peaceful, it’s worth checking out Gozo.
If you're interested in renting or buying property in Malta, you can browse on noagentfees.com.
10. RETIRING TO MALTA
Other ways to find a job include the local newspapers such as the Times of Malta and the Malta Independent. There are also lots of online job boards. If you don’t find something right away, don’t panic… the right job is out there, but you need to give yourself time to find it. Make sure you have some savings to support yourself while you are looking.
EU nationals looking for work can register as unemployed with the government organisation ‘Jobsplus’ and may be entitled to benefits.