[Estimated reading time: 4 minutes]
Relocating for work is becoming increasingly popular for a variety of reasons. Perhaps your employer has opened an overseas branch and would like you to lead the team or you just might fancy experiencing life in a different part of the world. Whatever your reasons may be, there’s no doubt that relocating for work is both an exciting and challenging time which demands a degree of planning and preparation in order for it to be successful.
Over the years, Malta has experienced a massive influx of expats from all over the world due to the booming iGaming industry and the island’s attractive company tax legislation. In fact, a recent article in the Independent rated Malta as a top destination for those considering relocation. It cites Malta’s low language barrier, affordable living costs and gorgeous weather as some factors that have contributed to its expat haven status. Other popular destinations include Costa Rica, Portugal and Mexico amongst others.
Wherever you decide to lay down your roots, there are however some things you’ll need to seriously consider before you buy your one way ticket to your new home.
When considering a relocation to another country one has to take into consideration a number of parameters. A few that come to mind are: employment opportunities, salaries and taxes, language, standard of living and quality of life. The unemployment rate in Malta has decreased to 4.2% during the fourth quarter of 2016, however there are still opportunities for more talent in the Finance, Technology, Gaming, Hospitality & Retail, and Healthcare.
Salaries and Taxes
Part time rates for retail sales or catering roles will pay 5 to 6 Euro an hour (€10,400 to €12,480 per annum), for an office/secretarial job would be in the region of 6 to 7 Euro per hour (€12,480 to €14,560 per annum) while for skilled work the rates would be between 9 to 10 Euro per hour (€18,720 to €20,800 per annum). National Insurance contributions are of 10% deductable from the gross wage up to a maximum of 2,175.16 Euros.
Taxes range between 15% to 35% depending on the level of salary earned. Standard Maltese tax rates apply to those who have been residing in Malta for more than 183 days. Those who have not been living in Malta for such a period of time (called, Non-residents) are subject to a tax rate of 35% which is eventually refunded to align with the normal tax rates.
Should you like to check your net earnings for any offers you might receive you can find an easy-to-use tax calculator. This calculator takes into account both National Insurance Contributions as well as taxes.
Ask your employer’s HR department if any official documentation is required prior to starting your new job and put this in order before you say goodbye to your motherland. Depending on a country’s employment legislation, expats may be required to produce official documents in order to work legally in their country of choice. For example, in Malta, foreign nationals have to be in possession of a valid work permit in order to commence their employment.
You may also be asked for documentation when opening a new bank account, so make sure you have everything prepared in advance so as to avoid pesky delays. Again, your company’s HR department will be able to guide you accordingly.
No Language Barrier
Maltese and English are the official languages of Malta and Gozo, and often a good knowledge of English is a very important factor in securing a job and in accessing a decent level of income. Alternatively, there are over 40 English language schools in Malta and Gozo for those who are interested in moving to also improve their proficiency in English; and the Maltese government also offers Maltese language evening courses for free.
A place of your own
Whether your company’s relocation package includes temporary accommodation or not, you'll eventually have to find a permanent living arrangement. If your finances allow, you could consider a preliminary visit to Malta with the intention to meet with real estate agents and secure property to buy or rent, in advance of your arrival. Alternatively, you will have to do this exercise once you make the final move. Check out which real estate agencies you would like to work with and understand which localities are closer to your workplace. Depending on your budget, you may also consider a flat-sharing arrangement during the initial stages of your relocation.
Immerse yourself in the local culture
There is no better way than this to build relationships and build a new lifestyle in your adoptive homeland. Try not to get sucked into expat zones and activities but try to find hidden gems of your own. Enjoy what your new country has to offer - maybe it’s the weather, fabulous cuisine, proximity to neighbouring countries for you to explore or luscious countryside and beaches. Discover what you love and enjoy it to the full!