How To Move To Malta
The complete guide!

Find A Job

Malta is an appealing choice for expats seeking work, with some beautiful scenery, pleasant climate and a prosperous economy. It also has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe and a developing tech sector, including the gaming industry and financial services.

The island has become home to a number of tech start-ups and this sector is continuing to grow. If you have qualifications and experience in IT, and are looking to relocate, then it is worth exploring Malta as an option. However, there are other opportunities available and we will look at some of your options below.

If you are from an EU/EEA member state, with the exception of Croatia, you will not need a visa or a work permit and will be able to work legally in Malta although you will need an e-residence card.

If you are from outside the EU/EEA then your employer must apply for a work permit for you from the Employment and Training Corporation, and must also show why they have hired you in preference to a worker from a member state. This will be valid for one year, and is employer and job-specific: you will not be able to transfer it to another job, although you can apply for an extension.

Experts advise that there are relatively few work permits available and that your chances of securing one remain low unless you have highly specialist skills. You will need a visa before you can apply for a work permit, and note that obtaining a permit can take from several weeks to several months.

Permits come under the following categories:

• work permits for completing specific projects, as per your contract
• employment permits for completing work in a specific location (usually temporary)
• employment permits requested by companies for employees for a special project
• work permits for specific occupations for which there is a shortage in Malta

You will need to submit the following documents:

• a completed application form (ECT 35)
• a cover letter from your employer
• a document listing your skills and qualifications
• a CV/resume
• your visa + copy
• your passport + copy
• your recruitment letter or contract
• a job description
• references
• passport size photos

Digital skills are in high demand due to the number of tech start-ups setting up in Malta. Gaming and e-commerce are booming and if you work in this sector, you will find that there is a demand for your services. Tech hub Smart City Malta is due to emerge soon and there will be jobs relating to this.

In addition to these newer industries, Malta has a long history in shipping and navigation and remains a Mediterranean hub. The island has a large shipping register. If you are involved in trans-shipping or import/export, then you may well find work in this sector.

Tourism remains a strong sector and is making a recovery after the recent recession.

You are unlikely to find work in the public sector unless you speak Maltese. English is widely spoken across the island and you should have few problems if you are not bilingual, although you may wish to learn the basics of Maltese.

Maximum working hours in Malta are set at 48 hours per week, but typically people work around 40 hours (the extra 8 hours will garner overtime pay). Business hours are usually 8/8.30 a.m – 5/5.30 p.m.

You will be entitled to 25 days of annual leave, plus the island’s 14 public holidays.

The minimum weekly wage is currently €168.01. Average salaries are relatively low compared to other European nations: currently around €18,643. You may also find that the taxation regulations in Malta are favorable to you.

You will be entitled to maternity leave of 126 consecutive days (18 weeks). 42 days (6 weeks) is compulsory and is taken after birth. 4 weeks leave may be taken before birth while the remaining leave (8 weeks) may be taken immediately before or after birth. Maternity benefit is paid at a flat-rate of €94.35 but there are variances between benefits for women who are self employed and those who work for someone else.

Your spouse will be able to work without a permit if they are an EU/EEA national, but otherwise must go through the standard application process as above.


Job Vacancies

You can make speculative applications to companies while you are still in your home nation. If you are an EU national, you may wish to consider taking up a temporary job on the island as a ‘stepping stone’ while seeking other employment.

There are a number of job boards covering Malta, and you can also check the local press for vacancies. If you are working in IT, there are recruitment agencies in this industry that cover Malta.


Applying For A Job

A standard CV/resume format is acceptable when applying for a job.

Malta is currently revising its equality legislation and this should cover protection from discrimination on the basis of gender and other factors.


Qualifications And Training

It is worthwhile to have copies of any diplomas or certificates apostilled, but you will not typically need to have your qualifications or CV translated into Maltese.


Apply For A Visa/Permit

Whether or not you are allowed to enter the beautiful island of Malta without a visa will depend on your nationality. It may be that you need to apply for a Schengen visa, which is a short-term entry visa applicable to the countries in the Schengen Area. Read on to better understand your options.



Your need for a visa will depend on your country of origin. If you are from an EU/EEA member state or the UK, you will not need a visa for the first 90 days of your visit. Similarly, if you are American or Australian, or a member of one of the nations with which Malta has a visa arrangement, you will be able to enter the country using just your travel documents. After 90 days, EU/EEA nationals must register their presence in Malta.

If you are a non-EU/EEA foreign national, you must apply for a uniform residence permit if you are staying in Malta for more than 90 days.

If you are a third country national from a country that does not have a visa-free agreement with Malta, you will need to apply for a Schengen visa.

Non-EU/EEA nationals, or third country nationals, cannot stay in Malta on a 90-day visa for more than 90 days (three months) in any 180-day period (six months).

Third country national visitors to Malta must also have documents substantiating the purpose of their stay in Malta. You will need to have sufficient means of support for your stay, and be able to prove return transit to your country of origin, unless you are in possession of a residence permit from a Schengen member state.

In order to apply for a Schengen type D long-term/national visa, or a Schengen type C short-stay visa, you will need:

• A completed application form
• Two passport-format photos
• Your passport and any copies of previous visas
• Travel insurance (including medical coverage) with confirmation of a minimum of €30,000 coverage within the entire Schengen area
• A cover letter stating the purpose of your visit and itinerary
• Proof of civil status (for example, your marriage certificate, the birth certificates of your children etc.)
• Flight itinerary
• The address of your accommodation, including hotels
• Proof that you are able to support yourself financially throughout your stay (for example, a recent statement from your bank for the last three months that shows funds of at least €50 (£40) per day, or traveller’s cheques, or proof of sponsorship)

You may need further documentation depending on your status. If you are employed, you may need to supply:

• A contract of employment
• A letter of leave from your employer
• A bank statement for the last six months
• An income tax return
• Your business license (if you are self-employed)

If you are a student, you will need to include your certificate of enrolment at the relevant educational institution.

If you are retired, you will need a statement of your pension for the last six months.

The standard cost of a visa is €80, but you will be exempt if you are one of the following:

• A child younger than six years of age
• A family member of an EU/EEA national

Documents required for exemption are:

• Original marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate
• Original full birth certificate
• EU/EEA national’s passport

You will also be exempt if you are travelling for the purpose of study or educational training, such as if you are a school pupil, an undergraduate student or a postgraduate student. You must be accompanied by your teachers/professors. In addition, invited researchers are exempt.

Documents required for exemption are:

• An invitation letter from your destination institution
• A letter from the university/organisation in the UK

There is a reduced fee of €35 for nationals of countries that have a visa facilitation agreement with the EU.

Fees are non-refundable and are not a guarantee that you will be issued with a visa.

It will take a minimum of 15 days to process your visa application.


Work Permits

If you are from an EU/EEA member state, with the exception of Croatia (which does not currently have a reciprocal agreement with Malta), you will not need a visa or a work permit. You will be able to work legally in Malta, as long as you have an e-residence card.

If you are from outside the EU/EEA, then your employer must apply for a work permit for you from the Employment and Training Corporation. They must also show why they have hired you in preference to a worker from a member state. The permit will be valid for one year, and is employer- and job-specific, i.e. you will not be able to transfer it to another job. You are allowed to apply for an extension.

Experts advise that there are relatively few work permits available and that your chances of securing one remain low unless you have highly specialist skills. You will need a visa before you can apply for a work permit, and note that obtaining a permit can take from several weeks to several months. Permits come into the following categories:

• Work permits for completing specific projects, as per your contract
• Employment permits for completing work in a specific location (usually temporary)
• Employment permits requested by companies for employees for a special project
• Work permits for specific occupations for which there is a shortage in Malta

You will need to submit the following documents:

• A completed application form (ECT 35)
• A cover letter from your employer
• A document listing your skills and qualifications
• A CV/resume
• Your visa and a copy
• Your passport and a copy
• Your recruitment letter or contract
• A job description
• References
• Passport-size photos


Get Health Insurance

Many expats take out private medical insurance, even if this is not a requirement of residence, because healthcare is expensive in their destination country or because certain treatments and procedures are not available.

When taking out health insurance, be sure to check factors such as the annual and lifetime policy limits, whether there are any exclusions which are likely to affect you, whether you are limited to treatment from specific types of healthcare providers, and whether the policy covers emergency evacuation for medical treatment.

Too frequently, potential buyers of health insurance look only for the lowest cost of premiums before really considering the specific benefits and areas of cover they may actually need. Some plans are cheaper for a reason. Often they include large voluntary deductibles on any claim you might make in the future and may severely cap the benefits received under the plan. Clients should define their needs first, establish the particular area of cover they need, then determine their annual healthcare insurance budget. Only then should they look to premium comparisons, last of all.

Do not buy a plan without studying the policy wording carefully. If in doubt, ask, and only when completely satisfied complete all application forms fully, to the best of your ability.

Important questions to ask the insurance provider:

1. Does the plan allow for cooling off periods, cancellation and then repayment of premium in full?

2. Does the plan offer “Moratorium” or is it “Full underwriting” and do you need to have a medical examination before joining?

3. Does the insurer offer a 24 hour help line, 7 days a week, available from anywhere in the world (freephone)? Most insurers now offer this facility.

4. Are pre-existing conditions excluded when joining and if so, for how long are such conditions excluded?

5. Are all and any nationalities accepted or are there restrictions which apply to local nationals? Some insurers will only take expatriates abroad and not local nationals into an overseas plan.

6. Does the plan allow you to continue cover unbroken through your lifetime? In most cases insurers will continue to offer existing clients cover year on year, irrespective of age or claims history, although premium rates charged can increase dramatically with age.

7. Does the insurer allow for any doctor or consultant or hospital within the plan? Are there any restrictions in this respect? Most international plans do not place restrictions on either hospitals or doctors, but almost all demand that their help lines are called first, prior to approval of any inpatient care.

8. Does the insurer provide for the direct settlement of bills presented by hospitals worldwide, regardless of location (or do you have to pay first)?

9. What are the insurers procedures for outpatient claims? Do these require any pre-authorization or if stated in the plan can you just pay and claim? How long before you get money back from the insurer? 14 days? 28 days?.

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Rent Or Buy Property


Renting Property

The process of renting property in Malta is extremely simple, even for foreigners. Expatriates moving to Malta, whether for work or retirement, can quite easily become residents and rent a variety of properties, without any red tape or restrictions.

The rental market in Malta offers a large variety of properties, ranging from trendy studio apartments to luxury homes with swimming pools. The standard of properties is often exceptionally high, and rentals are regularly available, both unfurnished and furnished. Renting offers a much more flexible approach to living in Malta, particularly for expats who don’t know how long they plan to stay.

The terms of agreement can vary depending on specific circumstances, on and whether you make an agreement directly with the landlord of the property. Generally speaking, the initial rental costs consist of:

• An initial deposit – a standard rental deposit in Malta is typically equivalent to three months’ rent (but can be subject to negotiation)
• Rent in advance – this may be in place of (or in addition to) a deposit, but once again is subject to negotiation
• Agency fee – only if applicable

Further to this, there will be monthly fees, such as:

• Condominium and/or maintenance fees – these fees will typically be paid on a monthly basis, although in some cases there may be a requirement or option to pay upfront
• Utility bills – utility bills, such as water and electricity, are also typically paid on a monthly basis, but again, there may be requirements or options to pay upfront or quarterly

If you’re looking for a property to rent in Malta, you will easily be able to find a number of estate agents who can help. Alternatively, you could keep an eye out for properties in local newspapers and publications, and on any local bulletin/notice boards. As well as this, some small, local shops may have an advertisement section. Another option would be to search online.

The cost of living will obviously vary depending on where in Malta you want to live, and on your lifestyle. Generally speaking, a nice one-bedroom apartment in a good area, a short walk from the beach, costs around US$750 to US$800 per month.

The cost of living in Malta’s capital, Valletta, is considered around the same as that of Belfast or Madrid. A fully furnished one-bedroom apartment in Valletta would probably cost you around US$1,040 a month.

For a similar price, outside of the capital city, you could likely pick up a furnished two-bedroom apartment with a sea view. Prices tend to fall if you look at property further inland or on the smaller island of Gozo.

Once you’ve found a property that you would like to rent, you will need to set out any specific terms and sign a tenancy agreement. You may find an offer where payment is dealt with cash in hand on a monthly basis, but an official tenancy agreement protects both you and the landlord and is therefore beneficial to both parties. The tenancy agreement should outline the agreed monthly rent, and specify how this will be paid and the date it is due. It should also outline when your tenancy officially begins, and ideally the duration of your tenancy, if this is applicable.

The tenancy agreement should also mention what bills you are responsible for paying, how much they will be, and how often you must pay them (i.e. monthly, quarterly, etc.). You will also need an indication of how long your notice period is, which is the amount of advance warning you have to give your landlord, and they have to give you, before you vacate the property. Any specific rules and responsibilities should be outlined in the tenancy agreement documents, which you will both sign and have a copy of.


Buying Property

The real estate landscape in Malta has always been relatively stable, with appreciating values year after year. Much of the population are homeowners, and many even own a second property. Buying property in Malta is always going to be a sound investment, given that it is the world’s 10th smallest country but densely populated, meaning that demand for local property and land is high, but the amount available is relatively small.

There are various costs involved when you buy property in Malta, including the following:

• Deposit – you will typically need a deposit of around 20% of the total price of the property
• Stamp duty – in Malta, this is generally equivalent to 5% of the total price of the property
• Notarial fees – these can amount to anything between 2% and 2.5% (plus a “Searchers Fee”)
• Health and life insurance – you will need an adequate policy in place
• Agency fees – this may or may not be applicable

It is important to note that some restrictions are in place for foreigners who are not citizens of Malta. For example, non-citizens are only allowed to purchase one property, and this may be subject to certain restrictions, requirements, or special permits. There are designated areas where many restrictions are not applicable. These are usually referred to as “Special Designated Areas” (or SDAs). Such areas typically incorporate homes located within luxury lifestyle development complexes, such as Tigne Point and Portomaso.

Property for sale can be found in the same ways as rental properties – through estate agents, in local publications, and online. Additionally, you will come across specific property auctions, which you can find online or through reputable agents.

Many local banks in Malta offer flexible funding schemes, even to foreigners, most of which offer these conditions:

• Repayment terms that can go up to 40 years
• Monthly repayments amounting to up to 30% of gross salary
• Up to 90% loan financing of total purchase price (or completion costs)
• Preferential interest rates for high value loans

When visiting the bank with the intention of applying for a home loan, you will need to take certain documentation with you. This includes applicable references, ID documents, a copy of the preliminary agreement, recent pay slips or proof of earnings/savings/investments, and an estimate of the property value you are seeking the loan for.

The bank will let you know if you are eligible for a loan, and what type of loan you are eligible for. They will then guide you through the rest of the process.


Move Your Belongings

Consider if you want (or are able) to transport your belongings yourself or whether you will need the services of a removals company that deals with international moves. Unless you are travelling very light, or making a fairly short move by road, you will probably need professional help to ship your possessions. Ask for quotes from several companies first, ensuring that they visit your home to carry out a survey of your requirements. It may be worth paying extra for the removals firm to pack your possessions for you, particularly if they are going to be transported to a distant country and need special protection for the long journey. Make sure you bring to their attention anything fragile or precious that needs particularly careful wrapping and packing.

Before agreeing to a quotation, ensure that you are fully aware of exactly what is covered in the price, and that the service to be provided meets all of your requirements. For example, does the service include both packing and unpacking of your household effects? What about disassembling and reassembling of furniture? If you are planning to put anything into storage in your destination country while you find accommodation, does the price include final delivery and unpacking at your home, or will you need to arrange collection of the items? Obtain a firm estimate of the likely arrival date of your items and obtain contact details for any agents that will be dealing with the removal in your destination country. Ensure that the removals company is aware in advance of any practical considerations such as the lack of an elevator to your apartment, or likely parking problems.

If using a removals company, you may be required to take out their insurance cover for your possessions. Whether or not this is the case, ensure that you have adequate insurance for anything of actual or sentimental value that could get lost or damaged during the move. Take the time to accurately complete or check an inventory of your possessions to be moved, as this will form the basis for any insurance claim for losses or damages. Find out if insurance is included in the price quoted by the removals company, or whether you are required to pay extra for this.

The removals company should arrange any customs and importation documents on your behalf, but if you are arranging the move independently you will need to find out what documents are required and what import duties and taxes are payable (and whether you are eligible for exemption from these).

Make sure that you set aside the important documents you will need for the journey, such as passports and air tickets, and keep these easily accessible in your hand luggage.

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Register For Healthcare

QUICK LINK: Malta health insurance

The Maltese state uses taxes to fund a percentage of public health insurance. The system is also funded from contributions and if you come to work in the country you will need to pay these in order to be eligible for public healthcare. If you are self-employed, you will also need to make contributions.

This should be around 10% of your income and will be deducted at source from your salary if you are employed.

If you are an EU citizen and have an EHIC card, then this can be used for emergency care, though it is not a substitute for comprehensive health coverage.

Everyone who pays into the national insurance system is eligible to receive the benefits of public healthcare in Malta, including expats.

Both the UK and Australia have a bilateral healthcare agreement with Malta, so if you are from either of these countries, you will be eligible for free medical care including a hospital stay for up to a month if you are from the UK, or six months if you are Australian. The British population in Malta is so high that you can get an RHC (reciprocal health) card from the Maltese government enabling you to access treatment.

Your employer should sort out health insurance for you, but you will need to register yourself via the government website if you are self-employed. It is not mandatory, but the pay-as-you-go system can be expensive.


Open A Bank Account

Malta has been a member of the European Union since 2004, and a member of the Eurozone since 1st January 2008. The Euro was introduced immediately although the Maltese pound stopped being legal tender twelve months later.

Today the Maltese national currency remains the Euro, divided into one hundred cents.

Malta has a stable political environment, being a democratic parliamentary republic operating within the independent country’s Constitution. It also has a stable legal environment which protects the registered ownership of assets. It is the EU’s smallest member state, so additional legal protection is offered to residents and businesses through EU legislation.

Overseas investors are attracted to Malta because of its highly efficient corporate structure, and its low cost base. Salaries are one third to one half of the average EU level.

Banks in Malta offer the same range of services you would expect to see in any EU country. Branch, telephone and online banking are available for all customers. Debit and credit cards are available, and ATMs are widespread. Customers can apply for current and savings accounts, and for a wide range of loan and mortgage products.

Because English is one of the official languages recognised in Malta and is widely spoken by the local population, you will be able to open a bank account and sort out banking transactions both in branch and on the telephone with someone who speaks fluent English. The online banking pages are also available in English.

In order to open a bank account in Malta you will need to visit a branch in person; it is a good idea to ring ahead and arrange an appointment. You must bring along the following original documents:

• Passport or an official government photo ID card
• Utility bill showing your name and full address, dated within the last 3 months
• Bank reference from your previous or current bank, showing your credit history

You will be asked to complete and sign an application form for the bank account. Many banks allow you to do this online prior to attending your appointment.

Banks will have a list of charges applicable to each bank account. Make sure you review this list and agree that the charges are reasonable for your own circumstances before you sign the application form.

There is a good choice of retail banks available in Malta, with both local and international banks offering current accounts. The list includes:

Central Bank of Malta
Bank of Valletta (BOV)
Banif Bank
HSBC Malta
APS Bank

Barclays also offers banking services to expats living in Malta, but in 2015 notified customers that their accounts would only remain open if they had £100,000 invested with the bank.

Banks registered in an EU state must join that state’s €100,000 deposit protection scheme. Malta is part of the EU and registered banks belong to the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) depositor compensation scheme. In the event a bank can no longer operate, customers will receive compensation from the MFSA at the same level as their bank deposit, up to a cap of €100,000. However, it is up to the customer to research the financial institution they are about to invest in as some important caveats can occur. In 2013 UK newspaper The Guardian reported that a 2012 MFSA policy prohibited or limited the ability of any newly licensed credit institutions from creating undue liabilities on the local deposit compensation scheme. Newly licensed bank Agribank had received a license in Malta, which gave it the right to operate throughout Europe, but customers at the time would not have access to the deposit compensation. This highlights the need to thoroughly check the terms and conditions of any bank account you consider opening.

Bank branches are normally open:
Monday – Thursday: 08:30 – 13:30
Friday: 08:30 – 16:30, with some branches staying open until 7pm
Saturday: 08:30 – 12:30

Debit and credit cards are widely used across Malta, and ATMs are widespread.

Paypal has become a popular way to make fast, personal payments with charges against the pre-authorised bank account or credit card sources.

There are numerous places to exchange currency, including currency exchange shops which will list the charges and the exchange rates.

Malta is generally a safe country but robberies, handbag snatching, pick-pocketing and theft from parked cars does happen. The crowded afternoon buses on the 12 and 13 routes between Valletta and St Julian’s are targeted by pick-pockets so extra vigilance should be exercised here.

Scams involving romance, friendship, business ventures, work and employment opportunities target those living in Malta as much as elsewhere. When someone you have been corresponding with on the internet suddenly asks for money, or meets with you and you rapidly find yourself in a situation where money should be passed over to someone, then you have been targeted by scammers. Examples include paying for someone’s flight so they can meet you, paying for ‘lost’ documents that will allow your internet friend to have access to their inheritance or earnings, or money to start a business venture. If you are shown a suitcase of cash at any point, you know a scam is involved, whatever the circumstances it happens in. The victim is often unable to see the trap they have fallen into because they have built up a relationship with someone online over several months, and may be placed in a situation which gives them little time to think clearly. Even people on modest incomes can be targeted for the little they have, and pressurised to take out loans to hand over to the criminals.

As in other countries, many people in Malta receive telephone calls from complete strangers purporting to be the bank. The criminals tell the victim that urgent action must be taken to avert an unauthorised bank transfer of funds out of their bank account. If this happens to you, immediately put the phone down. From a different phone – in case you are still connected to the incoming call – phone your bank and ask for their fraud department.


Transfer Money

There are many ways of sending money from one country to another. As always, expats can save themselves a lot of trouble and expense if they do a little research and shop around for the best deal.

International Bank Transfers

For most expats, currency transfer involves transferring small to medium sized amounts regularly from an existing bank account back home into a new overseas bank account in the local currency. These may be pension payments, benefits, or any other form of income.

Your home bank will usually be glad to oblige. You can set up facilities with them “on demand” whereby you fax or call them on the phone, provide a secret code or two, tell them the amount in question, and they will transfer it to your new bank, automatically converting it into the relevant local currency. Some banks also allow you to make international payments online. Whatever method you choose, transfers normally take between 3-7 days although 1-2 day transfers are often available but be prepared to pay more for these.

You can also set up regular transactions that are processed automatically on a fixed day of each month. Many state pensions and benefits can be paid directly into your new bank abroad without going through your home bank at all. Some private pension organisations may also offer the same facility.

When you first set up a transfer of funds abroad, the sending bank or institution will ask you for various codes that identify the destination bank. Often they will ask for IBAN (International Bank Account Number), BIC (Bank Identifier Code) or SWIFT codes but don?t panic – your new bank will give these to you and they may even already be listed in your new chequebook or bank statements.

As far as charges are concerned, you will probably be required to pay a flat fee per transaction. Additionally a percentage fee is often charged for the currency conversion itself. You may also find that your receiving bank charges you for receiving the transfer. Charges vary by bank but can quickly add up – ask your bank(s) for an indication of the fees involved.

As a general rule, transferring larger sums less frequently usually works out cheaper than transferring smaller amounts more often. However, if you need to transfer regular amounts of at least a few hundred pounds/dollars or need to make a larger one-off payment (e.g. for a house purchase) you should consider the services of a currency broker.

Cash Machine/ATM Withdrawals

Thanks to modern technology, most people abroad can go to a cash machine/ATM and withdraw local currency funds directly from their home bank account. This is a useful option to have for expats but exercise caution – many banks make hefty charges for using this type of facility. You may also find that withdrawal limits are in place (as a security measure) even if you significant funds in your account back home.

You can also use VISA or Mastercard credit cards to obtain cash in this fashion and if you pay the amount off quickly and avoid interest charges then fine – but once again credit card charges for cash withdrawals can be high. Check the rates carefully.

Currency Brokers

Currency brokers (also called foreign exchange brokers) offer significant advantages over traditional banks. Firstly, brokers will often be able to offer you a better rate than your bank. Secondly, the entire process is more transparent – many banks require you to accept the exchange rate available on the day they process your transaction, whatever and whenever that may be, but a specialist broker will offer greater flexibility, even allowing you to specify the rate you want in advance.

Currency brokers are smaller companies than major banks so always check their background carefully. Ask existing expats for their own experiences and recommendations before choosing a firm to handle your own foreign exchange requirements.

A good broker will discuss all the options with you and enable you to make the best decision for your circumstances. Using a broker will typically off the following advantages:

1) Currency brokers generally provide superior exchange rates to the high street banks. The currency brokers have access to the interbank rate and do not have the high costs that the banks have. This means that they can usually offer better exchange rates.

2) Use of a free Market Watch/Order Service: This allows you to tell your currency broker your target or budget exchange rate and they will ring you if that exchange rate level is reached. As the rate moves every few seconds, currency brokers can act as your eyes and ears on the market.

3) Ability to fix the exchange rate in advance using a Forward Contract. If you know you need to convert/move funds in the future but don?t yet have the money you can reserve a rate in advance using a Forward Contract. During this period, you are exposed to exchange rate movements and therefore, a forward contract is ideal if, for example, you have agreed to buy a house and want to fix the rate now but will not be making payment for a couple of months.

Savings from currency brokers can vary from between 1 and 4 per cent on the exchange rate alone, and specialists do not typically charge any fees for transmitting the funds abroad, unlike banks which often levy expensive fees or charges. If you are emigrating and transferring a large sum of money – such as the proceeds of a property – a foreign exchange company could potentially save you thousands.

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Learn The Language

If you are planning to come to the island of Malta to work, live or retire, you may be wondering which languages are spoken here, and if you will need to learn another language or if you can get by in English. We will answer some of your questions below.

Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English. Maltese is the national language, a Semitic tongue descended from a language called Siculo-Arabic. This was originally spoken in Sicily, and although it died out on that island it continued evolving on Malta. Maltese vocabulary is a mix of Arabic, Sicilian, Italian, French and English. It is not considered by its speakers to be a version of Arabic. It is written in the Latin alphabet and has a number of dialects across the island. It is the only official Semitic language in the EU.

Because Malta is a former British colony, it has retained the language. Around 98% of Maltese people speak Maltese, 88% speak English, 66% speak Italian, and over 17% speak French. If you are English-speaking, therefore, you should experience few difficulties in Malta.

If you want to learn Maltese, there is provision for you to do so. For instance, Malta University Language School offers courses for anyone would like to learn Maltese for work, personal development and academic purposes. These courses are aimed at students who have never studied Maltese before or have limited knowledge of the language.

The Maltese government also offers free language courses for those interested in learning the language. If you have children of school age in the public educational system, they will be put through Maltese classes and may have to pass a compulsory exam in the language, particularly if they are to enter university education on the island. Under EU law, the children of EU nationals migrating to another EU country for work are entitled to free language tuition and this also applies to Malta, as a member of the EU.

Malta is a potential destination for people intending to teach English. Although the island’s population is largely English-speaking, students come from other European countries to study English here. The English as a Foreign Language Monitoring Board of Malta (which falls under the remit of the Ministry of Education and Employment) is the official organisation which credits English schools in Malta.

However, although there are around 50 language schools, the demand is not great in comparison to larger nations and Malta as a working destination is probably best suited for a teacher who wants a short term summer job in a beautiful Mediterranean location: there are summer schools in Sliema, the seaside resort of St Julian’s, and the capital, Valletta.

It is always easier to get work in international education if you have at least a certificate in either TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages).

It is also preferable if you have experience in teaching schemes such as the Cambridge English exams or IELTS (International English Language Testing System): the English test for study, migration or work. Some teaching experience in the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) will also be helpful. This assesses analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English for use in admission to graduate management programs, such as the MBA.

You may find work more easily if you are experienced in teaching English for particular sectors, such as tourism and hospitality, or in summer schools. Salaries are just under the €1K mark. You will need a work permit and this must be acquired when you have already secured a job: your employer will need to apply for one for you.

It will also be helpful to have at least a Bachelor’s degree but Maltese language schools do not require this: basically, the rule of thumb is that the more qualifications you have, both in TEFL and in academic subjects, the easier you will find it to get work.


Choose A School

Because Malta is a former British colony, it has retained the English language and education on the island is thus often conducted in English, although state primary schools tend to use Maltese as a primary language of instruction and you will hear Maltese spoken in the playground. Schools in the public sector are free and are divided into the following sectors:

• state schools
• church schools
• independent schools

Transport to and from school is also free, and so are books and other school materials. You will need to buy school uniforms.

Church schools and independent schools offer pre-primary to upper secondary education, regulated by the Ministry of Education.

Church schools belong to the Catholic Church and have an agreement with the government that school fees are not charged. The government covers teachers’ salaries, but parents will need give an annual donation to help with school costs. Parents will also need to buy school supplies and uniforms.

The educational system itself consists of four stages:

• pre-primary (ages 3-5)
• primary (ages 5-11)
• secondary (ages 11-18)
• tertiary

Attendance is compulsory up to the age of 16. The school year runs from September to June.

Education here is based on a British model. Maltese, English, mathematics, social studies, and religious education are core to the curriculum. Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) exams are taken at 16, which is the school leaving age here. If they choose to continue, students will then take matriculation examinations based on the International Baccalaureate at the age of 18 to determine their eligibility for university entrance. Some may go to MCAST (skills school), to study more vocational subjects.

Many Maltese students will progress to the University of Malta in Msida, one of the oldest universities in Europe.

Because of the use of Maltese in state schools, some expat parents prefer to enrol their children in the English-speaking private sector and you will find provision in the form of international schools at pre-school, primary and secondary level. Alternative educational provision is also present in the form of Montessori education.

St Edward’s College Malta (for boys) offers a range of education for all levels. Senior education is directed towards the attainment of SEC O-Levels (national examinations) or IGCSEs (international examinations). Boarding fees range from €14K – 23K per annum, but you will pay around €6 – 7K per annum for day schooling.

Some international schools also offer French or American syllabi. The Verdala International School, a co-educational school with a boarding option, offers a fully accredited American Kindergarten through Grade 12 curriculum. They provide testing for the International Baccalaureate Diploma, International General Certificate in Secondary Education (IGCSE), the European Computer Driving License (ECDL) and USA’s Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Tuition rates range from €7500 – 10K per annum.

Most schools will also charge registration fees and may also charge maintenance fees. You should therefore check the small print carefully to see what is and is not included. You will need to contact your selected school directly to enquire about enrolment procedures, but at the least, will need to submit some documentation including:

• passport / ID card
• original birth certificate of your child in English, or a legal English translation
• your request for enrolment

Some schools may also request a medical check-up.

The school week runs from Monday – Friday and the school day is usually from 08:30 am to 2:40 pm. Uniforms are obligatory in most schools.

Overall, educational standards are high in the country and students will receive quite a lot of homework.

Private school places are in demand and it is advisable to enrol your child early. Church school places are also in demand, since the quality of education that students receive here is of an excellent standard, but because these are state subsidised, fees are substantially less than in international schools. However, the language of instruction in these schools is usually Maltese and education will obviously have a strong religious component.

The school drop out rate in Malta is high, around 20% compared to an EU average of 11%. Only around 85% of students aged 16 register for the School Education Certificate exams. The European Commission Report in 2016 states that Malta has the highest population of low-qualified adults in the EU.

Homeschooling has recently been made legal but is still difficult to undertake: home educators must hold a teacher’s warrant and must follow an accredited programme that is approved by the Division of Education. If you are intending to follow this route, it is advisable to speak to the local consulate of your home country or contact the educational authorities on the island directly. If you homeschool without a license, you can face a daily fine of €100.


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