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Malta – Self-Employment

Malta is a small island nation located in the Mediterranean Sea. Despite its size, Malta has become a popular destination for expats looking to start their own business or become self-employed. In this article, we will explore how self-employment and start-ups work for expats in Malta, including a step-by-step guide on how to register as self-employed or set up a company.

How self-employment works for expats in Malta

Expats are allowed to work as self-employed individuals in Malta, but they are required to obtain a valid work permit and register their business with the relevant authorities. Self-employed individuals are also required to pay taxes and social security contributions, and there are restrictions on the types of businesses that can be operated.

Step-by-step guide on how to register as self-employed in Malta

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to register as self-employed in Malta:

  1. Obtain a valid work permit or visa that allows you to work in Malta.
  2. Register your business with the Malta Business Registry (MBR) and obtain a VAT registration number if your business is subject to VAT.
  3. Register with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) and obtain a tax identification number.
  4. Register with the Social Security Department and pay the necessary contributions.
  5. Obtain any necessary licenses or permits for your business activities.

Can you work as a digital nomad in Malta?

Yes, Malta is an excellent location for digital nomads, with a well-developed infrastructure and a vibrant entrepreneurial scene. There are also co-working spaces and shared offices available in major cities such as Valletta, making it easy for digital nomads to work from Malta.

How to start a company in Malta

Starting a company in Malta involves several steps, including choosing a legal structure for your company, registering with the MBR, obtaining the necessary licenses and permits, and registering for taxes.

Step-by-step guide on how to set up a company in Malta

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to set up a company in Malta:


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  1. Choose a legal structure for your company, such as a limited liability company (LLC), a partnership, or a sole trader.
  2. Reserve a company name and obtain approval from the MBR.
  3. Prepare the necessary documents, such as the memorandum and articles of association.
  4. Register your company with the MBR and obtain a registration certificate.
  5. Obtain any necessary licenses or permits for your business activities.
  6. Register for taxes with the IRD and the VAT Department.

Incentives and programs for expats

Malta has several programs and incentives in place to encourage foreign investment and entrepreneurship, including:

Malta Enterprise

Malta Enterprise is a government agency that promotes economic development in Malta. The agency offers a range of services to assist businesses, including information on investment opportunities, incentives, and regulations.

Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP)

The MIIP is a program designed to attract high-net-worth individuals to Malta. The program offers citizenship to individuals who make a significant contribution to the Maltese economy, such as by investing in real estate or starting a business.

Malta Startup Visa

The Malta Startup Visa is a program designed to attract entrepreneurs to Malta. The program offers a range of benefits, such as fast-track processing of visa applications and access to funding and mentorship programs.

Other incentives

In addition to these programs, there are other incentives available to expats who want to start a business in Malta. These include tax incentives for certain industries, such as manufacturing and research and development, and grants and loans for startups in certain sectors.

Challenges of doing business in Malta

While Malta offers many opportunities for entrepreneurs, there are also challenges to doing business in the country. One of the main challenges is the small size of the market, which can limit the growth potential of some businesses. Another challenge is the high cost of living and doing business in Malta, which can be a barrier for some entrepreneurs.

Additionally, the regulatory environment can be complex, and the bureaucracy involved in setting up a company or obtaining licenses and permits can be time-consuming. It can also be difficult to find skilled workers in certain sectors, such as technology and finance.

Starting a business or becoming self-employed in Malta can be a rewarding but challenging experience. While the country offers many opportunities for entrepreneurs, there are also bureaucratic procedures and cultural differences to navigate. However, with the right approach and the right resources, it is possible to succeed in Malta’s growing entrepreneurial sector. By following the steps outlined in this article and taking advantage of the available incentives and programs, expats can establish successful businesses and contribute to Malta’s economic development.


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