Work in Malta: Getting a Maltese work visa

24.04.17
6 minute read
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Malta may be the EU’s smallest state, but there's no shortage of reasons to visit. With a fascinating cultural heritage, attractive climate and relaxed lifestyle, Malta is a popular place to live and work. Various industries are flourishing on the islands, from financial services to gaming, thus creating jobs for talented individuals from all over the world.

If you're considering moving to Malta to work or start your own business then you might need a permit to do so legally. Get started, by reading this quick guide to getting your Maltese work visa.

Do I need a Maltese work visa?

Your first priority should be to figure out if you need a work permit at all. In some cases, depending on your nationality and the role you’ll be working in, a permit might not be necessary.

Malta is part of the EU, so citizens of other EU states can live and work there without any visa. Most third country nationals, however, will require a permit to live and work in Malta. Full details of visa requirements for all EU countries are available through the EU immigration portal.

What’s the process to get a Maltese work visa?

Because many people choose to live and work (or retire) in Malta, the local government has a good website which explains your options when it comes to visas. The different types of residence permits available come with different tax brackets, so it might be worth taking professional advice before committing to one or another.

Usually, if you're a third country national, you'll need to apply for a tourist visa which is issued with a 90 day validity. You can use this to enter the country and then apply for residence once you're in Malta. As a non EU citizen, you’ll likely need to apply for permanent residence which is to be renewed annually.

You might opt for either the permanent residence or ordinary residence, if you're an EU citizen. The ordinary residence cards tend to be issued for up to five years and offer some tax exemptions depending on the country you're originally from.

Another option for non EU nationals, is the Maltese Global Residence programme, which is subject to stricter controls, but offers good benefits for those accepted into the program. To be eligible, you must prove you're maintaining a residence address in Malta and can then pay a 15% tax rate on income remitted to Malta. You’ll also need to show that you'll be able to support and have your family members join you. This is an attractive program because Malta is part of the Schengen area, making movement relatively free throughout Europe.

Forms needed for your visa application can be downloaded online. All applications are made in Malta, at the Department for Citizenship and Expatriates Affairs. You can either take your application in person, have someone else deliver it, or send it in by mail. However, you'll need to collect the document in person once it’s prepared for you.

To work legally in Malta you might also need an ETC employment license, which is applied for by your employer. You will, however, have to provide supporting documents to allow your new boss to submit the license application on your behalf.

It’s possible to have an agent help you with your visa application in Malta. Under usual circumstances this isn't needed because the process is quite simple. However, it can be worth having expert advice on the visa type best for your situation, if you have any doubts.

There’s no fee payable for your Maltese documents if you’re an EU citizen. However, if you lose your residence card and need a replacement, you can expect to be charged.

What documents do I need?

The details of what supporting documents are needed can be found on the relevant authorities’ website. There are different options you can choose, ensuring that you meet the criteria and have sufficient means to support yourself during your time in Malta. The website explains the different acceptable documents according to the purpose.

If you need an ETC employment license to be able to work in Malta then you'll have to give your employer the documents they need to support their application. These include:

  • Completed application form

  • A recent passport size photo

  • A certified copy of your passport

  • Your CV and qualification documents or proof of your relevant experience

As part of the application for an employment license, your employer will have to prove that they tried to fill the position from within Malta and the EU before making an offer to a non EU national.

Depending on the type of work you'll be doing, it might be possible to apply for an EU Blue Card. Similar to the US Green Card, this document gives you the right to work across most EU member states (excluding Denmark, Ireland and the UK). To be eligible for a Blue Card, you must be from a country outside the EU, be highly skilled (typically meaning you have completed a bachelor's level university degree, or have five years of senior professional experience), and have a binding job offer or active work contract.

The Blue Card application process is fast tracked by member states meaning it’s typically quicker than other forms of work visa application. However, it may still take up to three months. Although you start the application process online and through a single point of contact, the process may vary depending on your personal circumstances. The Blue Card network has a good website and offers support to applicants to help them understand the process.

Maltese work visas for part time, fixed term and seasonal workers

Unlike some other countries, there isn't a specific seasonal worker visa for Malta. You'll need to follow one of the visa or residency application processes outlined above.

How do I get a Maltese work visa as an entrepreneur?

To work on a self employed basis you might need an employment license, which is issued by the Maltese government. You’ll be asked to prove you meet certain criteria, which include a planned investment of EUR 100,000 in the first six months of your business being established or the ability to employ at least three local people in the first 18 months. In some cases you'll be able to get a license by producing a sound business plan which has been approved by the Maltese enterprise agency.

Usually you'll be issued an employment license and then have one month in which to apply for a residence permit. If you’re not physically in Malta at the time your license is issued, you'll have to apply for your residence permit as soon as possible once you travel to Malta.

How might my Maltese work visa affect my spouse and family members?

If you're a third country national then you can usually apply for a family reunification visa once you have been in the country for a year.

You'll be asked to prove that you have suitable accommodation and a stable income which is above the local average and sufficient to support your whole family. You can apply for a visa for your spouse and minor children in your care.

How can I move money to Malta from my bank account abroad?

To get the most of your money in Malta, you'll want to open a bank account in Malta, which you can do before you arrive.

Once you send money either to or from Malta, consider using a money conversion service like TransferWise to avoid unfair exchange rates. There's a small transparent fee, and when your money is converted from one currency to another you’ll get the real exchange rate - the same one you can find on Google. Not only that, but TransferWise receives and sends money via local bank transfers instead of internationally, further saving you money by cutting out hefty international transfer fees.

If your trip is short or opening a bank account in Malta isn't an option, you can always withdraw money from your foreign account using an ATM there. Just keep in mind that it'll be more favourable to agree to be charged in the local currency, not your home currency.

Regardless of when you start your new job abroad, it should be fairly straightforward to get yourself a visa if you follow the right steps. Once everything is in order, be sure to enjoy your new adventure.

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

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