For those who don’t want to wait for their retirement years to move abroad to Malta, one of Europe’s most beautiful and underrated nations, there are plenty of options for legally working in the country.
You will need both a residency permit and a work permit to live and work abroad in Malta. The main form of residency for prospective employees in Malta is the Ordinary Residency Permit.
Ordinary Residency in Malta
The ordinary form of residency abroad in Malta is meant for those who wish to work while residing in the country and register a tax residence in Malta to capitalize on the country’s low tax jurisdiction. Once you have found a job and applied (and been approved) for a Maltese work permit, you are immediately given residency in the country. This is valid for you and your spouse to legally live abroad in Malta long-term, though your spouse will have to apply separately for a work permit to hold a job.
Work Permits in Malta
For those who already have a European Union, European Economic Area, or Swiss passport, working overseas in Malta can be done with almost no hoops to jump through. For those from outside of these areas (U.S. and Canadian expats included), a work permit (employment license) will have to be obtained. This process is overseen by the Department of Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs.
You will be required to fill out a Single Permit application that will have to be approved by your prospective employer. A senior manager at your future place of employment in Malta will have to apply for the employment license on your behalf. This can take several months, so plan ahead before your intended move to Malta. This employment license will have to be renewed every year (for up to three years, with the possibility of extension). The renewal process takes about 8 weeks, so plan ahead, or else you will be unable to work in between the time of one permit expiring and the new one becoming valid.
For the application process, you employer will draw up a cover letter outlining your working responsibilities and terms and will add this to a packet of documents you’ll need to provide:
- Copy of valid passport
- Recent passport-sized photos
- Any applicable diplomas/references/resumes
- Completed application form
- Copy of travel plans (tickets, lodging, etc.)
- Evidence from employer that no EU, EEA, Swiss, or Maltese nationals could have been hired for the same position
The entire process of applying for an employment license takes about 6 weeks. If an employee decides to leave the employer prematurely, the work permit expires immediately. The employee is not legally allowed to switch to another employer in Malta without undergoing the entire application process again.
Switching from Resident to Working Employee in Malta
If you were already legally living in the country under a different form of residency and would like to change your status to allow you to seek employment in Malta (assuming you are not from an EU/EEA country), you will need to fill out a ETC 35 form. This will not guarantee employment, but it will allow a future employer to apply for a work permit on your behalf, should you be hired. As mentioned above, many job sectors in Malta are limited to Maltese and EU nationals. Almost any position you apply for as a third-country national will have to be opened up to European citizens first. Once the government has deemed that the job posting has been visible to European nationals for an accepted period of time, the employment vacancy can be filled by foreigners.
After filling out the ETC 35 form, you will need to travel to the Victoria Job Center in Gozo with the following documents to complete the application:
Depending on your country of origin and your individual employment qualifications, obtaining the ability to legally work abroad in Malta can be a smooth and exciting process. This will open doors to previously unimaginable opportunities as you become an expat in Malta and widen your scope of global experience. Living internationally and assimilating into new cultures through working relationships is one of the most invaluable things a person can do.
Tyler Sorce is an American writer and digital nomad currently living in Lisbon, Portugal. In a past life he was a chef in Manhattan and Paris, follow his travels and favorite dishes on Instagram.