Expats in Malta

You will find nationalities from all over the world living in Malta – the number has increased steadily over the last 10 years to around 24,000 and are estimated to increase by 27,000 more people in the next 18 years. By far the largest group (roughly half) of foreign nationals are British however over 150 other countries are also represented from as far afield as The Seychelles and Togo. With Malta ranking as the third best in the world for expats (Expat Insider 2015), the numbers are likely to keep growing. As a consequence, there are lots of expat resources too.

British expats

For Brits, the British Residents Association has a 40-year history of working to “foster friendly and harmonious relations between members of the Association and with the people of the Maltese Islands and to assist and advise members”. Their patron is the British High Commissioner. There are five different groups spread across the islands. They organize events and provide a support system. Members tend to be a little older.

Other expats

For other nationalities, www.internations.org/malta-expats and www.expat.com are good general resources. Other websites are more geared to meet-ups, offering regular Friday night drinks, boat trips and dinners. Your local embassy will most likely be able to provide you with good contacts too.

If you're up for a night out or a cultural visit, here's a list of top things to do in Malta.


Useful Information

Expat communities in Malta
Are expats in Malta happy?
  • Malta ranks as the third best country in the world for expats
Looking for expat events?
Need to get to an expat event?


Can I live and work in Malta?

If you’re from the EU, EEA (European Economic Area) and Switzerland, then get ready to embrace pastizzis, festa fireworks and beautiful beaches – you have the right to live and work in Malta. Click here for details on what paperwork you’ll need to do get an E-residence permit.

If you’re a Third Country National (TCN - i.e. the rest of the world), things are a little more complicated. You will need your employer to apply for a work permit for you. Click here to find out more.

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.

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