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The Benefits of Living in Malta

9th February, 2023
living in malta

Why Live in Malta?

When it comes to Malta, Frank Salt Real Estate should be your first port of call.

Malta is an extremely popular place for expats to live in Malta and many thousands of workers, retirees and business people relocate to the islands each year because it is an idyllic destination with excellent weather and a dynamic business hub, offering an easy-going lifestyle. Whether you have been to Malta on holiday and fell in love with the islands or are simply investigating your options, Frank Salt Real Estate is your gateway to settling in the country. We can answer all your questions, provide you with homes and commercial premises to buy or rent and even assist you in understanding all of the residency programmes offered by the government. We can make your transition to settling in Malta a hassle-free and easy one. We are local, we have been in operation for more than 50 years and as the largest real estate company in the country, we offer far more than just properties for sale and rent.

Let’s look at some of the most frequently asked questions relocating to Malta:

What kind of person relocates to Malta?

For most families, the number one reason to relocate is safety and security. Others may do it to benefit from Malta’s advantageous tax benefits and then there are those who are considering where to spend their golden years… and end up being persuaded by a good health care system and a warm, sunny climate all year. But Malta is not only for the wealthy or for retirees: whether you are a baby boomer, a millennial, GenX-er or GenZ, Malta is also a prime location for many well-paying jobs and Malta even has its own Digital Nomad Visa available.

living in malta

How far is Malta from the rest of Europe and how cold does it get?

Malta is a premier travel hub to the rest of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East and is ideally located in a warm, sunny climate with some of the best average temperatures in the whole of the EU. All major EU destinations are roughly a two-hour flight away, with direct flights from Malta to most major cities such as Paris, London, Frankfurt, Madrid and Lisbon, taking just over two and a half hours on average either way.

Does Malta have a language barrier like most other countries in the EU?

More than 80% of the country speaks English besides Maltese and this is another factor that will make any person that speaks English feel at home… from day one. All business is conducted in English as well. The official languages are Maltese and English.

What can you briefly tell me about Malta’s healthcare system?

Malta was in 5th place with best healthcare globally, as rated by The World Health Organization! This was out of more than 100 countries who took part in the survey according to internationalliving.com. If you work and contribute to social security, state healthcare is free but many people also prefer to top up their healthcare cover by taking out private health insurance, which is extremely affordable in Malta.

Tell me about schools and education in Malta.

The quality of Malta’s primary education is extremely high and it is based on the UK model. Public schools are free for children of residents but many church and private schools are also available for those that prefer this option, but it is not free. Malta also has over 40 English language teaching schools and many thousands of youngsters come to Malta each year to master the language.

why live in malta

Can you tell me about the kind of jobs that are available in Malta, the workforce and quality of life?

Malta is cheaper than most other EU countries when it comes to labour, although it has a low cost of living it has a high standard of living. Malta’s workforce is highly educated, English-speaking and thus the perfect place to recruit staff to be employed by an international company. Living in Malta comes with many benefits which are available to companies setting up business and for those operating from Malta by the Maltese government. The country is well-known for its IT and i-Gaming sectors: the latest figures show that the islands are already home to more than 250 registered i-Gaming companies! In addition, Malta is respected and known for banking and financial services, pharmaceuticals, shipping, chandler services, automotive, aviation and more. Malta has also recently introduced the Digital Nomad Visa for those who are able to work remotely, opening its doors to some of the world’s most dynamic minds.

Lastly, Malta is economically extremely stable, offers very competitive labour costs and encourages a pro-business culture and environment, making it tremendously appealing to international investors.

OK, so tell me more about doing business in Malta?

Malta offers immeasurable opportunities to international companies setting up businesses on its shores, such as borderless access to the rest of the EU, open trade and a unified currency, the Euro. Companies setting up business in Malta will benefit from little or no regulations when trading with other EU countries due to the fact that a company vetted and established in Malta is already accepted as having gone through stringent measures to make sure they comply with all the necessary EU regulations regarding trade. This also makes Malta very popular as a manufacturing destination for many companies in the fields of pharmaceuticals, aviation, shipping, manufacturing and i-Gaming.

What about the tax system in Malta?

The whole Maltese tax system is geared to attract global investment and the brightest of innovators, investors and entrepreneurs. Generally corporate tax comes in at 35% with numerous refund schemes which are very beneficial to shareholders in companies. In some cases this can bring the realistic tax rate down to as little as 5%!

Malta has more than 70 double taxation treaties with other countries, which means you will not pay tax twice on the same income. This is extremely beneficial for companies located and registered in Malta, as it provides lower withholding taxes on dividends for starters. This also applies to income and royalties pertaining to foreign companies that are non-resident but who have business activities in Malta.

What can you tell me about the banking system in Malta?

Malta has one of the world’s best-rated banking systems with strict anti-money laundering measures in place. Doing your banking from Malta carries with it a certain amount of credence and due to this, once you have opened a business bank account in Malta, you can be assured that you have been qualified above and beyond all measures as a safe partner in the world of international trade and business.

What happens if I decide to buy a property in Malta? What are the steps involved?

Purchasing real estate in Malta is a simple, uncomplicated process and it is very safe. After seeing the property options available with your local agent, the next step is obviously deciding on which one to buy.

With your heart set on your new property of choice, you will then have to engage in signing a Promise of Sale or preliminary agreement as the first official step towards owning it. This will bind both parties contractually to the purchase and sale as agreed upon.   

The Promise of Sale is in most cases valid for three months or as agreed upon by both the parties involved and at this time a 10% deposit is usually paid to the agent or a notary. It will then be the responsibility of the notary to do the necessary due diligence checks to right up to the time of signing the final Deed of Sale, confirming that everything is in order regarding the property.

The notary will also apply for all permits such as AIP (Acquisition of Immovable Property) if needed and if anything from the purchaser’s side causes cancellation of the sale, the 10% deposit will be favoured to the vendor. All contracts are done in English although there are a lot of Latin terminology and phrases. If you do not understand the meaning of these, make sure to ask your notary to explain this to you as you will have to sign at some stage that you have understood everything as stated in the particular contract.

When your permits have all been approved and the title of the property is unquestionable, you will be asked to sign the Contract of Sale or Deed of Sale. At this stage you will have to pay the balance of the purchase price, plus stamp duty and all other sundries. When this is all done and the property is registered in your name, you become the rightful owner.

General costs involved

  • Stamp duty of 5%
  • A 1-3% notarial fee (estimate)
  • €600 for searches and registration fees
  • €233 for an AIP Permit upon issue (where needed)

Should you make use of the services of an estate agency to find and buy your property, the commission fees are paid by the vendor.

The AIP Permit Explained

Every person who has not been living in Malta for 5 years continuously or more needs to buy a property, if outside a Designated Area, by means of obtaining an AIP Permit. With an AIP Permit you are only allowed to buy one property which you are also not allowed to rent out. If a property is located within one of the Designated Areas, you can purchase more than one and it can also be rented out without the need to apply for an AIP permit. 

Although the purchasing of property by Maltese Citizens is not curbed, non-residents, as said, need to obtain an AIP permit. No permit is needed by buying in a Special Designated Area or by:

  • An EU Citizen that has been resident for more than 5 years
  • A non-EU resident who have lived in Malta for more than 5 years
  • An EU Citizen who purchases a property as their primary residence
  • An EU Citizen who purchases a property for investment purposes
  • In the case where one of the spouses is an EU Citizen and the other not, both people can benefit from the examples mentioned above as long as the property is intended to be their main residence
  • If a property is to be used for business activity or to be rented out, this needs to be reflected in the Contract of Purchase

More conditions of the AIP Permit

There is a minimum value for the purchase of properties under AIP which is periodically updated, but this currently stands at €143,410 for apartments and maisonettes and €247,701 for villas, townhouses and other property.  These estimates may vary in the south of Malta and on Gozo. Ask your notary for the latest figures that apply. Also note that the purchasing of a shell apartment under that amount will be allowed as long as after finishing it, it can be valued by an architect for an amount exceeding the minimum as required.

Note that should you already own a property and want to buy another property outside one of the Special Designated Areas, it will be required that you sell the property you currently own first, given that you may not qualify under one of the conditions as stated earlier. 

living in malta for business

Buying a property in Malta as a group other than a commercial partnership

A body of persons may freely acquire a property as long as long as it is required for the purpose it has been set up and as long as it is controlled by members or citizens of another EU Member State who have resided in Malta for 5 continuous years or more.

Buying a property as a group under commercial partnership

The commercial partnership needs to be established and operating from an EU Member State (incl. Malta) for the purpose it has been set up as long as 75% of the share capital is held by a person/s who is/are an EU Member Citizen/s and who also has resided in Malta for more than 5 continuous years. Any other body of persons will require a permit.

A permit will only be granted in the latter case if the property is to be used as an industrial or tourism project or as a contributor to the development of the economy of Malta. Purchasing properties of historical interest may be refused.

Energy compliance certificates

It is very important that you, as a buyer, get handed the energy compliance certificate of the property on the date of entering into the Contract of Sale.

During the whole process of purchasing a property, it is most important to communicate clearly with your agent and notary at all times regarding conditions, processes and the progress of the entire transaction, as will they, with you.

Should I rent a home at first?

Yes absolutely! Many people prefer to rent at first to see if they like the area they are living in and if the lifestyle offered by the locality suits them. When renting, it is very easy to change location until you find absolutely the right fit. Frank Salt Real Estate has an experienced and respected Rentals Division that can assist you in finding the perfect home that will suit your requirements and budget. Renting a property is quick and easy and our rental agents will see you through the entire process: from choosing and finding the right property all the way to moving in!

Why should I choose Frank Salt Real Estate above others?

Frank Salt Real Estate was established in 1969 and has become Malta’s oldest, biggest family-owned and managed real estate company. With branches in both Malta and Gozo, the company specialises in the sale and letting of residential and commercial properties but also offers property management and home interiors services. The company also secured exclusive discounts and special offers from many leading companies that save buyers many thousands of Euros and this applies to both First and Second-Time Buyers. These savings are not available through any other estate agency. With more than 20 branches and divisions, the company offers the widest selection of residential and commercial properties in the whole of Malta, both for sale and to let. Long and short-term letting options cater to the tourism, foreign and local markets.

 Our Services

*Frank Salt (Real Estate) Ltd. (C31667) is authorised under the Insurance Distribution Act to carry out Tied Insurance Intermediary activities for GasanMamo Insurance Ltd.

And what if I want to buy or rent a commercial property to set up a business?

Frank Salt has a highly successful Commercial Property Division headed by one of the country’s leading business people. With powerful connections, impeccable knowledge of the Maltese business world and properties available in all areas, price ranges, sizes and classifications, you will be up and running in no time. Whether you want to buy or rent, the division can also assist you with obtaining all the necessary permits, in dealing with government departments and see to it that no time is wasted in getting your business going.

What can you tell me about the i-Gaming Industry in Malta?

Malta has been the number one operational destination in Europe for i-Gaming companies with over 250 companies calling the Maltese islands their home. The sector was valued globally at $64.13 billion in 2020 and is this expected to rise to a predicted $112.09 billion by 2025!

What are the benefits for international companies to operate from Malta?

There are several benefits to having Malta as a location namely:

  • Malta was the first EU country to have a comprehensive framework in place governing regulations for remote gaming.
  • Malta is a watertight jurisdiction for the EU.
  • Malta’s had many years of practical experience as a market leader in hosting i-Gaming companies.
  • The government of Malta offers several incentives to i-Gaming companies such as beneficial tax rates, low license fees and access to the rest of the EU as a full member state.
  • Malta offers a very highly skilled workforce and i-Gaming accounts for roughly 5% of all jobs in the country, of which some 40% consists of foreign nationals.
  • English is one of the national languages along with Maltese.
  • Malta hosts countless i-Gaming, computer and technology exhibitions, conferences, seminars and fairs annually that are attended by people from right around the world.
  • Malta has superb communications and information technology infrastructure in place at competitive prices which is crucial to the industry
  • Malta also offers cross-border transactions opening up markets for operators registered locally, to the EU.
living in malta

What can you tell me about the different residency programmes?

Below are the different residency options in short. Make sure to visit our web page for comprehensive explanations of each one at Malta Residence Programmes Page.

Ordinary Residence

Ordinary residence in Malta requires individuals to physically live on the island for a period of six months or more. The transfer of one’s residence from a high-tax jurisdiction to a lower tax overseas country is available to both EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA nationals.

Long-Term Residence

Long-term residence status may be granted to individuals who have been legally residing in Malta for five continuous years.

Temporary Residence

Individuals staying in Malta for some temporary purpose with no intention of establishing their residence here and who have not resided in Malta for a period longer than six months in a calendar year shall not be taxed in Malta on their foreign income and gains, whether these are remitted to Malta or otherwise. They are liable to tax in Malta solely on Maltese sourced income and capital gains.

Student Visa

Temporary residence is granted for the entire period of education to students in any Private School, College, or at the University of Malta.

Malta Citizenship by Direct Investment

In November 2020 Malta officially launched its latest rules for foreign nationals interested in acquiring Maltese and EU Citizenship – the Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment.

Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP)

The Malta Permanent Residence Programme is a residency-by-investment program which shall entitle 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.

Malta Retirement Programme

By taking up the Malta Retirement Programme (MRP), beneficiaries will be able to benefit from a tax rate of 15% on any income arising outside Malta which is received in Malta by the beneficiary or dependent, with the possibility to claim relief of double taxation. The scheme is available to both EU and non EU nationals.

Malta Global Residence Programme

Introduced in June 2013, the Malta Global Residence Programme allows people who buy or rent a property in Malta and direct their income to Malta to qualify from a residence permit. This residency programme is particularly attractive to non-EU nationals.

The Malta Residence Programme for EU Nationals

Aimed at attracting high net worth EU nationals who wish to enjoy permanent residence status in Malta, thus benefitting from several benefits, including a very favorable tax rate of on income remitted to Malta.

Can you tell me about points of interest when you set up a business in Malta?

Part of Malta’s success was having the foresight to shift from a labour-intensive culture to that of one making knowledge-based business its core focus. With aggressive marketing and ambitious programmes promoting itself as a financial hub, Malta became a serious competitor in the pharmaceutical, maritime, IT and i-Gaming, banking and tourism sectors. This has attracted investment from powerhouses such as Germany, the UK, Spain, France and the United States, putting Malta firmly on the world economic stage. Malta’s GDP for 2021 was at USD17.36 billion and its property industry has not only withstood the global financial crisis of 2008, but also that of Covid-19 currently which has had no effect on sales and construction whatsoever. In actual fact, record numbers of applications for registration of sales were received during the entire Covid Pandemic.

With extremely good ratings by credit rating agencies, being such a compact but powerful economy has counted in Malta’s favour: any setbacks such as Covid-19 are quickly overcome as opposed to that of larger countries. Here are more salient points:

Malta’s location for business

Due to its logistical location, Malta is the perfect gateway to the rest of the EU Single Market, North Africa and the Middle East.

Transport

With one of the best IT infrastructures for new technology and incredibly fast internet speeds, Malta has seen the establishment of many on-line businesses setting up business in the country. Malta also has a deep and safe harbour with excellent air and sea links, plus one of the biggest shipping registries in the world. Malta is also used as a hub by major airlines who work in partnership with Air Malta, serving the whole of Europe and the Middle East. Public transport covers the entire country and is cheap and reliable.

Manufacturing, exports and employment

Malta has a mostly export-driven economy for goods and services with manufacturing contributing a healthy 7.16% in 2021 of the overall GDP. The manufacturing sector is also the second largest player on the islands when it comes to employment. Malta has a very high employment rate of around 77.5% and with unemployment standing at only 3.5% for 2021.

Malta Freeport

Located on one of the world’s best shipping routes, Malta Freeport is one of the busiest in the whole of Europe and has more than 30 years of experience in dealing with all things related to the shipping industry. It was privatised in 2004 and has since undergone an upgrade of more than €300,000,000 resulting in a state-of-the-art facility. It can also handle some of the world’s largest shipping vessels.

With top exports listed as electrical machinery, seafood, pharmaceuticals, print materials and mechanical equipment, amongst Malta’s primary partner countries such as the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Turkey, South Korea and the UK can be counted. Due to the long established relationships forged with all of these countries, all avenues of communication, documentation, customs and legal are well-established and super-efficient: good news for anyone setting up business in Malta who wants to trade with the rest of the world. Malta also welcomes established companies from all over the world that want to be re-domiciled to its shores.

With the country set on attracting global business, there are no restrictions on direct foreign investment or the need for a local partner company. With a proud history of dealing with investors and being masters at investor relations, Malta is one of the easiest, friendliest places in Europe to start a business. Here are some worthy and positive points to ponder, should you be looking at setting up business in Malta:

  • Competitive and realistic costs
  • A high margin of profitability
  • Better than average levels of productivity
  • A multilingual, qualified workforce
  • Well-located industrial premises
  • Incentive packages by government
  • Assistance from the government
  • Exceptional health and safety
  • Economic stability
  • Political stability
  • Social stability
  • Excellent educational resources and facilities

Low setup and operational costs

Malta is well-known for the low cost associated with setting up a company or business, but keep in mind that this goes for smaller, simplified setups. The bigger the operation, the more it will cost. Here are some costs you can expect:

  • Anywhere from €245 to €1,750 to the Registrar of Companies depending on the initial capitalisation fee.
  • Filing the application on-line will save you around 50%.
  • Renewal of registration costs €100.
  • If you are making use of the services of an agent specialising in the formation of companies, expect to shell out just under €1,000 for an uncomplicated registration.
  • The minimum amount for share capital is €1,165 for a private limited liability company (LTD) and €46,600 for a public company (LLC)
  • It will take 2-3 days for the process to be completed, given all the paperwork submitted is suffice.
benefits of living in malta

Benefits of Incorporating a company in Malta                                                       

  • The Maltese tax system

Since the 1950’s Malta has seen the potential and benefits derived from attracting affluent individuals, investors, entrepreneurs and highly skilled persons from all over the world. Part of its incentives were the introduction of excellent tax structures aimed at not only people but business as well. As the gateway to the rest of Europe and the Middle East, Malta has proven to be the best place to set up a company for trade due to its many favourable advantages when it comes to tax benefits.

Malta’s tax system offers many rebates and incentives to companies managed, incorporated and controlled from Malta such as a general corporate tax rate of 35% on a worldwide basis with even further reductions applicable on top of this in certain cases.

Malta has all the hallmarks of an offshore jurisdiction, but the plus side is that Malta’s entire tax structure is not only monitored but also regulated by very high and stringent EU standards, making one of the safest and most compliant jurisdictions anywhere in the world.

  • Double Taxation Treaties

Malta has double tax treaties with over 70 jurisdictions and countries in order encourage and stimulate international trade. The goal is to avoid being taxed double on the same income, to facilitate lower withholding taxes applicable to dividends, royalties and patents for foreign companies that are non-resident but who actively promote any kind of business activities in Malta.

The treaties also aim to encourage company formation by foreign investors as a result of a variety of tax protection methods offered by Malta.

For individuals and families, whether you are EU or non-EU, Malta is one of the world’s premier destinations to work, live, retire and invest in real estate. When it comes to business especially, the advantages of setting up and doing business from Malta are numerous. There are even more benefits to be enjoyed by individuals and companies alike, such as tax credits, incentive schemes, reduced tax rates, investment allowances, further tax deductions apart from normal tax depreciation, reduced tax rates when reinvesting profits, job creation incentives and more.

Should you be interested to know more about moving to Malta, buying property or setting up a business in Malta and subsequently enjoy all the benefits that are on offer, make sure to contact any of Frank Salt Real Estate’s residential and commercial specialists! They will be able to assist you with any questions you may have regarding buying, selling, renting, taxes, business premises to rent or buy and much, much more.

Get in touch.

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