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Moving to Malta – A Relocation Guide for UK Nationals

Moving to Malta – A Relocation Guide for UK Nationals

Introduction          

The process of moving to Malta from United Kingdom has been undertaken by many thousands of individuals and families over the decades, as Malta has been an extremely popular relocation destination for the British public. Although Malta gained independence from the UK on 21 September 1964, ties still remain strong and many of the customs have been adopted by the Maltese. English is one of the two official languages of Malta and in Malta you also drive on the same side of the road as in the UK. Because of these similarities the transition of moving to Malta as a Brit is seamless.

Moving to Malta from UK          

Many of the reasons why UK nationals move to Malta is obvious: sunny weather with more than 300 days of sunshine a year, the wide use of the English language and simply because it is cheaper! Tens of thousands of UK expats live all over the EU and many have made Malta their home, paying fewer taxes than in the UK. In fact, the British are the biggest group of foreigners living in Malta *.  Additionally, as Maltese residents, they do not have any complications due to Brexit when travelling anywhere in the EU unlike their counterparts back home.

As a newcomer to Malta from the UK, the process is now more complicated to get residency, but for those who were resident in Malta before 30 June 2021 and applied for their new residence cards, little has changed. As a tourist you can still stay in the country up to a period of 90 days but you are not allowed to work or overstay. 

Should you wish to work in Malta, you will have to apply for a work permit from the UK before travelling to Malta to take up work. Malta and the UK are still busy negotiating favourable terms and conditions for the future which will hopefully make it a lot easier for those many Brits who are still queuing to come and live the island life! Next we will be looking at some of the visa options open to UK Nationals.

Moving to Malta – A Relocation Guide for UK Nationals

Find out which visas you qualify for   

Malta immigration offers a variety of options to UK Nationals. We highlight some of the key elements of each:

Under this visa you have to actually live in Malta for a minimum of 180 days per year. One can benefit by transferring one’s tax jurisdiction from a high to a lower tax rate country (Malta) and this is available to EU/EEA and Non-EU/EEA persons.

This status or residency may be granted to those that have legally resided in Malta for 5 continuous years, given certain criteria are met.

  • Temporary Residency

If you are staying in Malta for less than six calendar months per year and have no intention of establishing residence in Malta, you will not be taxed on foreign income or gains whether it is remitted to Malta or not.

  • Visa for Education and Study Purposes

Through applying for this, the candidate or student will get residency for the whole period of attending a private school, the University of Malta or a College.

If you are interested in acquiring Maltese Citizenship through means of investment, this is the option for you. It is officially called Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment .

This is a residency by investment programme that will allow the beneficiary a right to settle, stay and reside in Malta permanently and also allows for immediate members of the main applicant’s family to join.

If you are interested in taking up this programme, you will benefit from a tax rate of 15% on any income arising outside Malta which is received in Malta by the beneficiary and it may be possible to claim relief of double taxation.

This allows people who buy or rent a property in Malta under the required minimum amounts and simultaneously direct their income over a certain required limit to qualify for a residence permit.

This residence programme is aimed at high net worth nationals who want to make Malta their home.

 

How to Rent a Property in Malta              

Renting a property in Malta is easy and uncomplicated. This is usually the first step for people who come to the country to settle as it is a better idea to see what type of home and what area suits your lifestyle needs best. We highlight how to rent a property in Malta, the important documents you have to present and complete and the associated costs. We will also cover a quick step-by-step guide on the whole process, from choosing a property to moving in.

  • Early Days

If you are still in the UK and are planning to move to Malta, start looking online at properties that may interest you. Also make contact with a reputable estate agent and let them know of your intentions. Ask them to present you with a selection of properties in your price range and in areas you prefer. If you are unsure about the geographics of Malta, ask the agent to explain the lay of the land to you, what each area, town and village offers and the types of typical properties you can expect to find there. Also make sure to ask about communities, schools, medical facilities, transport…in fact anything that is key to your lifestyle.

  • The Next Step

Once you have selected properties that interest you, visit Malta to see them and conduct a thorough inspection of each. Pictures of properties do not always represent the entire package that you will be buying into and this will be the right time to make up your mind about exactly where you want to live and the type of property that suits your lifestyle.

  • Making a choice

Once you have seen the properties and their locations and you have decided on the right one for you and your family, let your agent know so they can prepare the documentation in order to secure the property for you. In Malta you can choose between furnished and unfurnished properties. Most newcomers prefer to rent furnished properties at first and once they have decided that Malta is their long-term choice, they ship their belongings from the UK to Malta.

  • Submitting an Offer

In Malta it is possible to negotiate on the monthly rental fee for a property. Leases shorter than 6 months are considered as short-term and those longer than a year are long-term.

With longer leases let your estate agent negotiate a better rate with the landlord, as this is often the case in Malta. Things like giving a bigger deposit and paying the rent in advance can also count in your favour.

Note that with short-term leases it may be possible that utilities will be included in the rental amount, so make sure of this before signing anything. With long-term rentals you will be the responsible party for payments of all the utility bills and these will usually be in your name as well.

  • The Paperwork

Your agent will prepare a rental agreement or lease and this need to be done according to the requirements as stipulated by law in Malta. Not one of the criteria can be omitted as it will lead to the contract being null and void. A good estate agent will know this and execute everything correctly. If you are still unsure, the best advice is to get a notary to go through the contract and for them to give it their approval as 100% correct.

  • The Next Step

Once you have read through all the fine print and have asked all the questions, you will be asked to sign the rental agreement and pay the deposits. You will also be expected to pay the estate agent’s fees at this time. Don’t forget to ask for receipts of all monies paid.

At this time you will also be given copies of the contract and the inventory. Once this has all been completed, you will receive the keys.

  • Moving in

Before you officially move in, visit the property and immediately go through the inventory room by room. Take pictures of everything to supplement the documentation and if there are any issues or snags, let the agent and the landlord know so that it can be remedied immediately. This record will ensure that you get your full deposit/s back at the end of the lease.  

Moving to Malta – A Relocation Guide for UK Nationals

How to Buy a Property in Malta                            

After renting for some time in Malta, the next step is to buy a home once you know the country better. Buying property in Malta is a good investment with above average returns over time. The buying process is a simple and straightforward one, but again your best option will be to make use of the services of a reputable estate agent to see you through from start to finish. We outline the process in brief.

  • Finding and shortlisting properties

Have a look at properties online in areas that appeal to you and suit your budget. Also speak to your agent to compile a list of candidates according to your specifications. Once you have a favourite, do not only look at the property, also look at the neighbourhood and visit it a few times, at different times of the day. This brings us to the next point.

  • Viewings

Ask your agent to arrange viewings, because properties that have tenants in are subject to tenant’s rights as protected by law. They will need at least 24 hours’ notice at a time that is convenient to them for you to see the property. Make sure you inspect everything about the property and employ the services of an architect or structural engineer if you are suspicious about any structural anomalies. It is better to be safe than sorry!

  • Decision time

Once you have decided on a property, speak to your agent and submit an offer in writing.

  • Contracts and Documentation

At this time, to show that you are serious, you will be asked to sign a Promise of Sale. A 10% deposit can help to seal the deal. Make sure you familiarise yourself with everything in the contract and employ the services of a notary. The notary will now take over the process and do all the relevant due diligence checks in collaboration with the estate agent. Once this has run its course, you will be asked to come and sign the Final Deed of Sale, at which time you will have to pay the outstanding amount of the purchase price in full. If you applied for a bond to buy the property, it will be expected that you have been granted the bond already at this stage. You will also be expected to settle all outstanding amounts owed to the notary and pay the necessary stamp duty. Find out about all the concessions available to buyers regarding this, as it could save you a serious amount of money.

Frank Salt Real Estate also offers First-Time Buyers a tailor-made package of savings in addition to that of the government: this includes unbelievable deals and discounts from some of Malta’s best retailers and shops and could save thousands if you are for instance going to upgrade a property with new kitchens, bathrooms, soft furnishings and more.

The last leg of the process is transferring the property into your name. You will be notified when this has been done and you will take ownership.

  • Taking ownership

Your notary and agent will let you know when the property has been transferred into your name and hand over the keys to you, upon which time you become the legal and rightful owner.

  • Things to be aware of

If you have lived in Malta for less than five years, irrespective of your nationality, you will need to apply for an AIP (Acquisition of Immovable Property) permit, if the property is located outside a Special Designated Area. Properties bought under an AIP permit must be your primary residence and cannot be rented out and you cannot own more than one. Getting an AIP permit is a formality and does not take long. With properties located in Special Designated Areas you do not need an AIP permit, can buy as many as you want and you can also rent them out.

  • Costs

Below are some of the expected costs involved when buying a property in Malta or Gozo. These change and are updated periodically, so make sure you ask the notary or estate agent about the latest information on these fees.

    • 5% stamp duty 
    • 1% to 3% notarial fee (approximate)
    • €600 searches and registration fees (approximate)
    • €233 AIP permit fee (where applicable)
    • Notary fees
    • Sundries
Moving to Malta – A Relocation Guide for UK Nationals

How to Find a Job in Malta                           

If you are not retiring and coming to Malta for work, you will find the environment exciting and stimulating. Malta has an excellent social security system for those in employment and generous leave days per year. Opportunities for well-paid employment are plentiful, especially in i-Gaming, financing, manufacturing and the medical fields.

Your first option will be to apply for a job in Malta from the UK, but note that preference will be given to qualified individuals from Malta and the EU first. If no-one suitable is found after a period of some weeks, the employer can then look further afield to 3 rd country Nationals for consideration such as those individuals or candidates who applied from the UK for the position.

Once you have been notified that your application has been successful, you will be notified by ID Malta and your employer that you can make your way to Malta to commence working. Once you are in Malta you will have to complete the remainder of the paperwork before you will be issued with your final work permit and Malta ID Card.

Other Things to Consider when Moving to Malta

  • Education

If you are in employment and contribute to social security each month, education and schooling in Malta is free of charge. Standards are extremely high and tuition is available in English. Malta also has over 40 English language teaching schools and many thousands of youngsters come to Malta each year to master the use of the language.

  • Culture

Malta is a Mediterranean country so the culture is easy-going but can be fiery at times. Villages all have patron saints and each has their own festivals every year, with the one trying to out-do the other in the size and amount of firework displays that accompany the festas. As a Catholic country, many hundreds of churches are dotted throughout the country, with sizes ranging from small quaint chapels to spectacularly decorated cathedrals.  

  • Cost of Living

The cost of living in Malta is relatively cheap when compared with the rest of Europe, with the living standard being quite high. Although not as cheap as Spain, Malta is less expensive than for example Italy, its neighbour, which is approx. 185km away.

  • Changing your UK Driver’s License for a Maltese one

Irrespective of whether you have been a registered resident before 30 June 2021 and applied for a new residence card, you have to exchange your UK driver’s license to a Maltese one after 28 February 2022. Newcomers from the UK will have to change their licenses after a year in Malta to a Maltese one by doing the theory and practical exams as per other 3 rd country Nationals.

  • Healthcare

As stated before, being registered in Malta through for example contributions to social security by means of employment in Malta means most services are free, but you may be required to pay for prescribed medicine. Here’s the list of how you will be eligible for (mostly) free healthcare in Malta when living here:

o   Contributing to social security

o   Making social security contributions in the case where you are self-employed

o   Using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or

o   UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) for short or temporary stays, studying or in the case where you are a detached worker

o   Presenting your UK passport during stays of a month or less

o   Having a Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement (RHA) Entitlement Card

o   Registering the S1 form with the Entitlement Unit in Malta given it was issued in the UK

To stay on top of the latest regulations and developments, please consult the UK Government Website dealing with healthcare in Malta for UK Citizens here.

Conclusion  

Many UK Nationals have relocated to Malta and bought or rent property on the islands, having found the process easy and uncomplicated. In addition Malta has a very large expat community of Britons who regularly hold get-togethers for networking purposes and also simply to cheer on their teams in sporting events such as rugby, cricket and football. UK passport holders who have residency in Malta also enjoy hassle-free travel access to the rest of the Schengen zone and the EU without the need to apply for expensive and time-consuming visas.

With everything counting in its favour, Malta has established itself as a favourite relocation destination for countless UK Nationals and maybe it’s time for you to investigate the possibilities!

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