Planning to immigrate to Malta? Whether you’re looking for relocation options or you have your heart set on moving to Malta, you probably have questions about what’s involved in the process of getting settled.
What are the residence programs available? What requirements do you need to prepare? How much is the cost of living in Malta?
To help answer your questions, let us walk you through everything you need to know about navigating immigration and settling in Malta.
The small island chain of the Maltese archipelago is located half-way between the northern tip of Africa and Europe.
As an English-speaking country, Malta has proved to be very popular as a destination for South African looking to relocate to a safer and economically more stable country that is also part of the EU.
With a very low crime rate and affordable lifestyle for even South Africans, many people have made the islands their home and the majority are extremely happy they made the move. We take the perspective of South Africans who have already settled here and share the plus points of the jewel of a country in the heart of the Mediterranean.
This is probably the number one reason why many South Africans immigrate to Malta. Malta is one of the countries reporting the lowest crime rates in the whole world and it continues to decline over the years. South Africans breathe a sigh of relief being able to walk in the streets at night. Break-ins, burglaries, car theft and serious, violent crime is basically unheard of in Malta.
Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English. More than 80% of locals speak English so it makes the transition and communication to Malta very easy for South Africans as opposed to other EU countries.
Cost of living
Most South Africans think it is impossible to pay for anything in Euros as the conversion from the Rand to the Euro makes everything seem out of reach, but this is not true. On a realistic scale of economics, one cannot equate the price of items by simply using the exchange rate. Everything is relative and keep in mind that prices for everyday items in Malta rarely go up and you get far more value for money. When it comes to insurance, whether it is for the home, medical or for vehicles, it is a fraction of what it costs in South Africa.
State health care in Malta is of the best in the world and is free to anyone contributing to National Insurance and social security. If you are a resident and employed, you will automatically be doing this and thus access to healthcare is absolutely free. For retirees or high net worth individuals the cost of taking out independent health insurance is cheap.
Commuting, driving and public transport
What a bonus! Here as a local you will drive on the same side of the road as in South Africa and you have a year during which time you can drive with your SA or international license before you have to get a Maltese one. Unfortunately, you cannot convert your SA license to a Maltese one and will have to sit both the theory and practical tests, but this does not take long and the whole process is fairly easy.
Public transport in Malta is safe and cheap. Buses are on time and criss-cross the entire country. Taxi prices are government regulated and extremely affordable.
Residency and Visas
Many South Africans are lucky enough to have European heritage and thus dual passports, making the transition to Malta very easy. For those who only hold a South African passport, many Malta residency and visa options are available. One example of which is the Malta Permanent Residence Programme, which is a residency-by-investment program. It entitles a beneficiary to the right to settle, stay and reside in Malta permanently. It is by far one of the most attractive residence programmes available to individuals looking at obtaining permanent residence in an EU country that also forms part of the Schengen Zone.
As English is widely spoken and used in business, South Africans who are highly qualified are very sought-after in Malta. South Africans are well-known as hard workers, being very productive and being very efficient. Should you be applying for any work, keep in mind that preference is given to Maltese and EU candidates first, so ensure that when you apply you submit any documentation verifying your qualifications, skills, accolades and references too. If you have any degrees or diplomas, it will have to be verified by The Malta Qualifications Recognition Information Centre (MQRIC). This will maximize your chances of landing that dream job on a dream island!
As a South African buying a property in Malta is affordable and easy. Anyone who has not been resident in Malta for 5 years or more, irrespective of nationality, must apply for an AIP permit when they buy a property outside what is called “Designated Areas”. This is a formality and mandatory, plus the property must be used as either your main residence or be just a holiday home. Property in “Designated Areas” are not subject to this and as a South African you can buy as many as you want and rent them out. It is noteworthy that property in Malta has been one of the best capital investments in the whole EU zone for many years now.
Ease of travel
When you become a legal resident of Malta, the world opens up. You will have visa-free travel access to the entire Schengen zone plus some EEA-countries like Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Given the fact that Malta is a short distance from Italy and only a 2-hour flight from most of Europe’s major cities, living in Malta will enable you to spend weekends in Paris, Rome, Brussels, Amsterdam, the Greek Isles and more. No more hassles with costly visas, delays and exhausting long-haul flights!
These are just some of the many reasons to immigrate to Malta. You will also be happy to know that Malta has a growing South African community, making it easier for you to get acquainted with new friends and settle in your new island home.
If you need help finding a Malta property for sale, get in touch with Frank Salt Real Estate. For over 50 years, they have been offering top-notch real estate services to both local and international clients. Contact them today for more details.