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Retirement for Expats in Malta

Author: Jason Zhou
Submitted: November 2013

Malta has been at the top of the world’s most popular retirement destinations for a long time, especially for citizens from other European counties because of its abundant sunshine, dual official languages and convenient location. 

There are five islands in Malta, the largest of which is the Island of Malta and the second one is the Island of Gozo. Most Maltese live on these two islands, which are also the main consideration for retirees.  

When retiring to Malta, the first thing you should consider is a residency permit. If you are a citizen, or a family member of a citizen, of a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland there should not be any problem with you entering and living in Malta.  

If you are not from a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, things may be a bit difficult as you need to obtain a long term residency permit before you retire to Malta. Apart from traditional routes, such as family reunification, you can apply for a long residency permit through a route called High Net Worth Individuals. For this you need to have a qualifying property holding in Malta. For more information about this permit, you can read here: https://ird.gov.mt/downloads/hnwi/hnwi_guide_scheme.pdf.  

Health care is another major consideration. Malta has a good reputation for its health care service system. It was ranked as the fifth in the world in 2011. It provides free services for its citizens and long term residents. Citizens of an EEA country or Switzerland should make sure to obtain a valid European Health Insurance Card before moving to Malta, this will enable you to access the public health services in Malta at a reduced cost or even for free.  If you are not a citizen of an EEA country or Switzerland, you will be required to have adequate medical insurance when you apply for a visa. For more information about Malta healthcare, please see here https://www.justlanded.com/Malta/Malta-Guide/Health/Introduction.   

You should note that your pension payments from foreign sources will be taxable in Malta, if such incomes are remitted to Malta. In most cases, you will have to. Normal income tax rates (up to 35%) are used to calculate the tax arising on taxable pension income. However, if you have pension in another country, you may apply for a special flat rate of 15% on your pension income remitted to Malta, if you meet certain requirements shown here: https://www.ird.gov.mt/downloads/retirement/mrp_guidelines.pdf.  You may also facilitate the double tax agreements between Malta and other jurisdictions as the agreements usually specify that tax is only payable on pension benefits in the country where the beneficial owner is resident. For more information about tax in Malta, you can visit: https://www.ird.gov.mt/default.aspx.

Most people would like to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living. However, many of them find their savings will not last as long as expected. For example, as stated in recent research from HSBC, UK retirement lasts about 19 years on average and financial problems are likely to emerge after 7 years.  It is therefore recommended to have a detailed financial plan for retirement as early as possible.  As a retiree, generally speaking, one of the most important financial issues you should consider are living costs, which includes; rentals, utilities, groceries, cable TV, housekeeping, medical expenses and travel expenses.  For more information about the life of retirees living in Malta, you can see here: https://www.maltainsideout.com/.



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