Businesses globally are acknowledging the fact that remote working has become rapidly mainstream. And with many companies reaping the fruits of increased productivity, talent retention and decreased utility costs, more and more organisations are incorporating remote working arrangements into standard employee conditions of work.
Those adventurous remote workers who are ready to take to plunge and ditch their home office to work from anywhere will find many countries around the world offering digital nomad visas.
Malta was among the first countries in Europe to adapt to this shift in trends. Following a significant influx of remote workers from fellow EU countries, the Nomad Residence Permit extends this possibility to non-EU nationals to live in Malta for a temporary extended period while working remotely.
Close to one thousand applications from non-EU digital nomads have been submitted to Residency Malta, the government agency that administers and manages the Programme, since its launch in June 2021.
The majority of beneficiaries hail from the UK, the US and China, and span a variety of industries from IT, finance and business management to marketing and education. With these nomads having an average age of 37, tertiary education and a median annual salary of €74,000, Malta is attracting a new base of talented and skilled professionals who, while keeping their employment, are able to move and explore the country’s rich history and heritage, experience the melting pot of different cultures, while enjoying Island life in the heart of the Mediterranean.
A significant number of nomads have applied with their families and have also asked for renewals – a strong testimony that they are finding living in and working from Malta comfortable and convenient.
Indeed, Malta offers a number of unique propositions for remote workers. English is an official language and the language for doing business, meaning expats will have no issues communicating and settling in fast. Then there’s a strong fibre broadband infrastructure, over 400 free public wifi hotspots, and 5G nationwide to remain connected from anywhere. Add that to the easy connectivity within the island, daily air and sea links to major destinations, top-class healthcare services and helpful government services, remote workers will feel right at home as soon as they land.
Remote workers will also find a dynamic digital nomad community with which to connect and share ideas and experiences, while a good number of co-working spaces offer additional networking and meeting spaces.
Couple these attractions with a rich history and heritage, a vibrant arts and culture scene, outdoor activities, great beaches and cuisine, and Malta ticks many of the boxes on the digital nomad’s list.
The Nomad Residence Permit
Eligible applicants can be employed with a company registered outside Malta, self-employed with registration abroad or freelancers giving services to clients registered abroad. Applicants are required to earn an annual income of €32,400, and the permit is open for all sectors and for immediate family members of applicants. Permits are granted for one year, with the possibility of renewal twice, for a maximum of a three-year stay, if applicants still meet the Programme’s eligibility criteria.
The Permit is also open to immediate family members who are dependent on the main applicant. The online application process is straightforward and has a processing timeline of approximately 30 working days. An application fee of €300 applies for each individual on the application.
Life in Malta beyond Nomadism
For digital nomad entrepreneurs who fall in love with Malta and who would like to plant roots and open their own business locally, they will find a number of government entities geared to help them set up shop.
Moreover, if they have highly innovative projects eligible under the new Malta Startup Residence Programme, non-EU founders, co-founders and core employees may avail themselves of a facilitated migratory pathway that offers a medium-term residency of 3+5 years (3+3 for core employees).