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The Magic of Malta

The Magic of Malta

by Derek Wells

If you are looking for a retirement destination or maybe somewhere to buy a holiday home, then Malta may just be what you are looking for.

Malta is a tiny archipelago in the middle of the clear blue Mediterranean Sea, some 60 miles south of Sicily. It consists of Malta, Gozo and Comino. Malta is 95 square miles, Gozo is smaller at 26 square miles and Comino is barely over a mile square.

The island has strong links with the UK. It has always been a popular destination for individuals from over here and it’s not hard to see why. English is widely spoken, driving is on the left, medical care is top class and most important of all, the Maltese are a welcoming and friendly people who will help you settle easily on their island home. Through its long and colourful history, the islanders have come into contact with numerous ruling nations, all of which have contributed to Malta being an historical oasis. Despite its history, the Maltese have remained steadfastly independent, proud of their cultural roots yet hospitable to visitors.

Malta is an island of contrasts, which is all the more interesting when you take into account its tiny size. From Neolithic temples to 5-star hotels, from imposing fortifications to yacht marinas, from tiny cafes to top class restaurants, the island has it all. Life can be as lively or as laid back as you wish it to be, as sophisticated or as rustic as you choose.

Malta’s climate is warm and healthy, with mild winters and dry hot summers. No frost or snow and that’s a promise. Temperatures between November and April average around 15oC with temperatures between May and October averaging around 23oC.

As you get older, you will quite naturally be concerned about healthcare. Well, you need not worry. Medical services on the island are excellent. A survey carried out in 2000 by the World Health Organisation ranked Malta’s health system 5th in the world (incidentally the UK came in at 18th). Medical services are easily accessible with many of the specialists having obtained their post graduate training in the UK. EU citizens resident in the UK are entitled to free public health care in accordance with entitlements as determined by the Ministry of Health.

You may also be concerned about making a new circle of friends. A good place to start will be the British Residents Association. The BRA has a full diary of events, ranging from coffee mornings, lunches and visits to places of interest. It also has a strong welfare support system, keeping members abreast of important information, and services available.

If sport is your thing, again you have a wide choice on the Islands. Everything from a leisurely swim in the crystal clear Mediterranean to golf and tennis at the Marsa Sports Club is on hand.

If you are thinking of taking up permanent residence, you will need a certificate from the Maltese Inland Revenue Department. The certificate is issued for an indefinite period and holders may enter and leave the island as required. To qualify for the scheme, residents must satisfy certain criteria which include owning worldwide capital of at least €349,406 or having an income of at least €23,294 per annum. The permit holder is also required to remit at least €13,976 per annum plus €2,329 for each dependant (including a spouse) into Malta. Furthermore, a holder of a Resident Scheme Certificate is required to purchase or lease property having minimum values of €69,881 for apartments, €116,469 for a house or, if the property is rented, then the rent must be at least €4,193 per annum.

A low flat rate of income tax of 15% prevails with a minimum tax liability of €4,193 after double taxation relief. Tax is calculated on income and capital gains arising in Malta and on foreign income remitted to Malta. Malta’s tax legislation provides for relief from double taxation. There is no inheritance tax in Malta, but in the event of death, a beneficiary is liable to 5% transfer tax on property transferred. If jointly owned, the tax is levied on half the value of the property.

As someone who has had the privilege of growing up in Malta and despite having lived in the UK for some 30-years, I find the draw of the island is irresistible. I return each year to catch up with friends and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the place.

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.