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Why are so many UK citizens moving to Malta?

20th June, 2024
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Why are so many UK citizens moving to Malta?

Exploring the Enduring Appeal of Malta for UK Expats

With a long and proud history connecting Malta and the UK, the bond between the two countries remain strong even long after Brexit. With foreign nationals from over 150 countries in Malta, the British remain by far the biggest group, making up for half the total numbers according to workinginmalta.com. Malta got its independence on 21 September 1964 from the UK and in that same year joined the Commonwealth of Nations. The trend of UK citizens relocating to Malta afterwards has never declined and various factors contribute to this movement, encompassing economic, social and also lifestyle elements. This article will explore these reasons in depth, providing a comprehensive understanding of why Malta has not only remained but increased in popularity as an attractive destination for UK expatriates.

Why are so many UK citizens moving to Malta?

Economic Factors

One of the primary reasons UK citizens move to Malta is the favourable economic environment. Malta offers a robust economy with a strong emphasis on the financial services, i-Gaming, real estate, construction, manufacturing, shipping and technology sectors. The island nation has become a hub for online gaming companies, attracting professionals from around the world. For UK citizens, particularly those in the financial and technological sectors, Malta presents numerous job opportunities with competitive salaries.

The cost of living in Malta, while gradually increasing, remains relatively lower compared to major UK cities like London. This affordability extends to housing, utilities and everyday expenses, making it financially viable for many UK expatriates.

According the Queen Mary University of London, Malta enjoys a high standard of living but it has one of the lowest rates in the EU when it comes to the cost of living. Should you be living in Gozo, rates are even lower. When we look at other comparisons, Malta is estimated to be 10% cheaper than the USA, with consumer prices being 12% cheaper than that of the UK and rents are nearly a quarter lower on average.

Tax Benefits

Malta’s tax system is another significant draw for UK citizens. The country offers attractive tax incentives, particularly for high-net-worth individuals and retirees. The Maltese tax regime includes a remittance basis of taxation, meaning that foreign income is not taxed unless it is remitted to Malta. This system can result in substantial tax savings for expatriates. Additionally, Malta has double taxation agreements with many countries, including the UK, which helps prevent individuals from being taxed twice on the same income. Malta also has no inheritance tax and no capital gains tax if an individual has lived in their primary residence for longer than three years.

Real Estate

Purchasing real estate in Malta is a simple process without any fuss. The islands offer a myriad of property types, building styles and locations that span all budgets. Choose from apartments, penthouses, houses of character, farmhouses, maisonettes, bungalows, villas and even palaces for sale. Properties can be located on the coast in places like Marsaxlokk, Marsascala or Mellieha or in inland villages and towns like Naxxar, Mosta and  Qormi. Then there are the cosmopolitan hubs such as Sliema and St Julian’s, historic towns like Valletta or the Three Cities and the entire Gozo where life is lived at a somewhat slower pace than in Malta. You will be spoilt for choice, whether you are looking at buying or renting a property!

Properties located in Special Designated Areas can be bought without the need for special permits such as an AIP (Acquisition of Immovable Property). Investors can also buy as many as they like here and rent them out immediately. Capital appreciation in Malta stands around 5% per year on average and rental yields can range from 3.5% to over 6%, depending on the location and property specifics.

Why are so many UK citizens moving to Malta?

Climate and Lifestyle

Malta’s Mediterranean climate has always been a major attraction for UK citizens seeking a sunnier and warmer environment. The island enjoys over 300 days of sunshine annually, which is a stark contrast to the often grey and rainy weather in the UK. This climate allows for a more outdoor-oriented lifestyle, with ample opportunities for activities such as swimming, sailing, and hiking. All the warm weather and sunny days are also immensely beneficial to physical and mental health.

The relaxed pace of life in Malta is also a huge draw card for UK expats. The island’s small size contributes to a sense of community and ease of getting around. Public transport is super-efficient and the country’s infrastructure, including healthcare and education, is of very high quality.

Language and Cultural Familiarity

English is one of the two official languages in Malta, making it an accessible destination for UK citizens. The widespread use of English in business, education and everyday life eliminates the language barrier that might be encountered in other European countries. This linguistic familiarity eases the transition for expatriates and allows them to integrate more smoothly into Maltese society.

Culturally, Malta shares many similarities with the UK, partly due to its history as a British colony. Driving on the left, the prevalence of British brands and the popularity of English football are just a few examples of these cultural overlaps. These familiarities help UK citizens feel more at home far quicker in Malta.

Healthcare

Malta boasts a high standard of healthcare, which is an essential consideration for many expatriates. The country has a well-developed public healthcare system, which is free for residents that are in employment. Additionally, private healthcare in Malta is of excellent quality and relatively affordable compared to the UK. If you are studying or a ‘posted’ or ‘detached’ worker, UK citizens can use a UK-issued GHIC or EHIC for temporary stays. Uk citizens can also access Malta’s healthcare system for free if one shows a UK passport and you are only staying in Malta for up to one month. Other options are using a Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement (RHA) Entitlement Card or by far the most popular way is registering a UK-issued S1 form with the Entitlement Unit in Malta. Have a look at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/healthcare-in-malta to find out what exactly will be your best option.

Education

Education is another critical factor for families moving to Malta and you will find church, state and private schools. The islands offer a range of international schools that follow the British curriculum, ensuring that children receive an education comparable to what they would have in the UK. The University of Malta is also well-regarded, providing higher education opportunities for expatriates and their families. State or public schools are free to citizens and residents who have children of school going age.

Why are so many UK citizens moving to Malta?

Political Stability and Safety

Malta is known for its political stability and low crime rates. The country has a stable government and a well-functioning, transparent legal system, which provides a secure environment for residents. This stability is particularly appealing to UK citizens who may be seeking a safe and predictable place to live, especially in the context of recent political complexities in the UK.

Malta is also regarded as one of the safest places to live in the EU when it comes to the threat of natural disasters.

Residency Options

Malta offers several residency options to foreign nationals. Read all about the residency programmes here. Choose from ordinary, long-term, permanent, retirement and many others. Note that investing in real estate forms part of several of the residency programmes, making it even more appealing to buy property in Malta or Gozo.

Frank Salt Real Estate has been at the forefront of assisting UK expats relocating and settling in Malta for more than 55 years. As Malta’s biggest family-owned and managed property group, we specialise in residential and commercial sales and letting, home interior services and property management. When it comes to moving to or settling in Malta, there’s no-one better qualified than us.

Contact Us.

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