It is a huge decision to relocate and so much needs to be considered.
Will I get a job?
Malta’s national employment agency head has confirmed that 10 000 more foreign workers will be needed to move to Malta in 2020 if the economy is to keep on growing.
The European Commission’s economic forecast recently predicted strong growth ahead for Malta, so much so that Malta’s economic growth, over the next two years, is expected to be the highest in the EU.
Economy, Investment and Small Businesses Minister, Chris Cardona ,added that small and medium enterprises were the backbone of Maltese economy. The challenge he said was to find the workers to fill the job vacancies to maintain the strength of economic public growth.
He also warned that the rate of Maltese people retiring from the workforce is significantly outpacing the rate of Maltese people joining it, putting further strain on the employment situation.
Malta has registered the second lowest eurozone unemployment rate after Germany
At 3.5% and 3.6 for 2020 and 2021, unemployment in Malta will be just 0.1% higher than in Germany. The lowest unemployment rate in the EU as a whole is expected in the Czech Republic, which is set to have rates of 2.2% and 2.3% over the next two years respectively.
Will I get residency?
Figures have revealed that Malta issued the highest rate of residency permits in the entire EU in 2018.
Last year, Malta dished out 17,176 residency permits, a rate of 35 residency permits for every thousand people. The closest country was Cyprus at 24 permits per thousand. Meanwhile, the EU average stands at just 6 per thousand.
Anyone non-Maltese intending to reside legally in Malta for more than 3 months is required to apply for a residence permit.
Just under 60% of all applicants were given the residency permit for employment reasons, with around 20% coming for education.
How good are the schools?
Malta’s education system is widely considered the best in Europe.
Since Malta is a former British colony its educational framework is akin to that of the United Kingdom. With a lot of choices available, finding the right school for your children should be quite easy.
The school year for most schools runs from September to June
Education on this island is compulsory for all children between the ages of 4 and 16. Homework is an fundamental part of the system, regardless of the school.
As a parent you can choose to have your child attend public or private schooling, depending on your preferences, requirements, budget and future plans.
Students usually begin kindergarten at the age of 3 or 4 .There are no exams at this stage, though pupils are assessed on certain criteria by their teachers.
Primary school is from the ages of 5 to 10. By the age of 8, students start taking formal exams, both oral and written.
Secondary school is between the ages of 11 and 16. The lower secondary cycle consists of Form 1 and Form 2. In the final three years of mandatory education, i.e. Form 3 to Form 5, students can select certain subjects that they wish to study. Completion of this stage marks the end of compulsory education in the country.
After completing their secondary education, students have can choose whether to attend high school. High school lasts for two years. By then, the student is around 18 years old and should be preparing to take the A Level exams, which are mandatory for seeking admission to university.
More than 60% of Maltese children receive their education from public institutions. The state-funded schools on this island offer fairly high standards of education to all students, including expats, as long as they meet certain criteria. The pupils usually receive free tuition, transport and books. However, parents are required to pay for their uniforms and stationery required.
Most of the students in public schools are Maltese. This means that your children are likely to make friends with locals and integrate with society faster.
In Malta, all private schools are overseen by the Ministry of Education. They offer their students a very high quality of education. However, this comes at a premium cost; in fact, the independent institutes in Malta are known to be more expensive than the rest of Europe. The high fees include registration, tuition, books, stationery and transport charges. Parents are also usually asked to pay a refundable deposit or a make non-refundable contribution to the school’s bond or annual fund.
While the curriculum followed in these institutions is local, most of the teachers favor English as their language of instruction.
In spite of the exorbitant costs, there is a huge demand for private schools across the country. It is therefore best to put in your child’s application as early as possible.
Several private schools in Malta are affiliated with the Catholic Church. These institutes are called Church Schools and they are in high demand, since the quality of education is on par with private schools but the students are not required to pay a tuition fee, as the government covers the cost of the teachers’ salaries. However, parents have to bear the costs of uniforms and school supplies; they are also asked to make an annual donation. This fund goes towards the non-staffing resources required by the institute.
There is bound to be some presence of priests and nuns in all church schools but the majority of the staff may include professionals from non-religious backgrounds. Since these institutes are also overseen by the Ministry of Education, the curriculum is similar to the local public and private schools. The language used for instruction and communication is generally Maltese.
There are a couple of international schools, which mainly cater to the foreign students based in Malta. Since the cost of studying in international schools is extremely high, many people find them unaffordable.
The institutes that are most popular with foreigners include the Verdala International School, QSI International School of Malta and International Vocational College of Malta. Though a strictly independent school, St. Edwards College is also favored by a lot of expats since it is based on the British public school system.
The learning programs offered at international schools is more varied; some of them offer more than one type of curriculum, like IGCSE and International Baccalaureate or IB. English is the main language of communication and instruction.
In spite of the high costs, space in international schools is limited and gaining entry may be a challenge. Parents are advised to get their children registered for enrolment as early as possible.
Is it expensive to live there?
Take into consideration what crime in South Africa costs you per month like paying for a security company, the cost for electric fencing, this is non existent in Malta. Because the crime rate in Malta is so low, the cost for household insurance and car insurance is so cheap. A 3 bedroom furnished house would cost you +/- € 300 per year (R 4 900.00)in insurance.
You do not pay rates and taxes, you only pay your usage of the electricity and water. An average household will spend +/- € 120.00 per month (R 2 000.00) on electricity and water. This will obviously increase if you used air conditioners or heaters.
Medical aid is also so much cheaper and depending on the company you choose, a family of 4 can be comprehensively covered for € 1 400 .00 per year (R 23 000.00)
Red meat, toiletries and some fruit and vegetables are more expensive than in South Africa as it is imported. Fish again is very reasonably priced.
Local wine and beer are on par with what you would pay in South Africa, wine being just under R 100 a bottle.
Eating out in a local village pizza/pasta restaurant would cost you for an evening between € 50 and € 60 for 2 people having a pizza, pasta and a bottle of wine