Taking the plunge to relocate to a new country can be a daunting prospect, especially when you are uprooting your entire family. If you are worried about the practicalities of moving your life to a new country as well as preparing and settling everyone when you get there, our handy guide will explain what you need to know and how to sort out your priorities when going through the maze.
Once you’ve found a job and a place to live, the next task is to get a Maltese ID card. Having one will make many other administrative jobs easier, including the second ‘must do’ on your list - opening a bank account in Malta. This should be high on your priority list because you’ll need it to receive your salary, to rent or buy a home and to pay bills, among others. It can take a while, so it’s critical not to let that one slide down the to-do list.
You also need to make sure that you have access to medical care. EU Nationals can get healthcare for free but it is important that you are not caught out in an emergency without having the right documentation. Non-EU nationals may be entitled to state healthcare if they are working, but will certainly need health insurance before they start work - check whether this is included in your job contract or whether your employer offers help with this.
You may also be entitled to benefits such as Children’s Allowance.
On the subject of tax - Individuals relocating to Malta will be subject to a higher tax band for the first 183 days. This will be partially refunded via tax rebate, after this timeframe elapses. You will also need to submit a tax return annually.
The next step for you is to look for a job and find accommodation in Malta.
Malta welcomes almost two million tourists a year so you are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a short-term pad on arrival. All the major online hotel agencies offer a good range of accommodation. If you’d prefer to rent an apartment, www.airbnb.com is a great resource or you can try www.holiday-malta.com/malta-apartments and www.maltaholidaylets.com.mt.Will we fit in with the Maltese?
The Maltese are very friendly, welcoming and hospitable. If you’re from Northern Europe or North America, it might take a while to get used to the Mediterranean culture - a perfectly civil conversation might sound like an argument at first especially since they like to gesture with their hands when they speak! When real disputes do flare up, they are quickly forgotten.
It’s worth remembering that the Maltese are used to seeing lots of foreigners come and go and they have their own lives and families. For that reason, it might take longer to get into their ‘inner circle’ but if you stay long enough in Malta, you’ll have friends for life. The Maltese really come through in a crisis - they will rally round if you find yourself in need.How hard is it to learn Maltese and should I bother?
It would be wonderful to report that you’ll be conversing freely in Maltese in a matter of months. The truth is that Maltese is a tricky language to learn, especially when it comes to the verbs. This is a Semitic language, where verbs are ‘triliteral’ and conjugated with prefixes, suffixes and infixes (i.e. three different consonants denote the general meaning of the word, and the combination of vowels before, after and in between those consonants denote the tense or specify the meaning). For speakers of Latin based languages, it’s a difficult concept and makes it hard to pick up the language from listening or reading without a fair amount of study. Maltese is peppered with familiar English and Italian words however, which helps you to get the context and many speakers weave in and out of English and Maltese naturally. The other hurdle is that the Maltese will inevitably speak to you in English all the time, so it’s quite difficult to practice the language. Still, free lessons are available through the government and it’s certainly not impossible to learn if you put in some effort. Here's how you can learn Maltese.Should I move all my furniture with me?
Furniture tends to be more expensive here than it is in mainland Europe. If you are offered a relocation package that includes moving furniture and other personal possessions, it’s best to take it. If you are paying moving costs yourself, you might find the prices lower than you expect – it’s certainly worth getting a quote. Do bear in mind that containers cost an average of €600 and can take several weeks to arrive and you might find yourself buying items while your possessions are en route.