Why Malta?

Malta Fact File

Country's Full Name:  Republic of Malta (Republika ta' Malta)
Capital City: Valletta
Population: 424,200 (as at January 2015)
Official Languages:      Maltese and English
Currency: Euro - Malta joined the Eurozone on January 1, 2008
Religion:

98% - Roman Catholics. Other denominations have places of worship.

Location: 93 km south of Sicily (Italy); 288 km east of Tunisia
International Dialing Code: +356
Internet Domain: .mt
Area:

Malta comprises three major islands:

  •  Malta - 246 sq km (94.9 square miles) 
  •  Gozo - 67 sq km (25.9 square miles) 
  •  Comino - 3 sq km (1.1 square miles)

There are also some minor uninhabited islands.

Terrain: Mostly low, rocky, with dissected plains and many coastal cliffs
Climate: Mediterranean with hot dry summers and cool, short winters. Annual rainfall is 600mm (24 inches) and falls mostly between October and March.
Average temperature:
  • December - February 12º C (54ºF) 
  • June - August 31ºC (88ºF)
  • Annual mean 18ºC (64ºF)
Administrative Divisions:      The country is administered directly from the capital city, Valletta. However, there are 68 local councils.

Main Economic Indicators in Malta

  • Registered unemployed (as at December 2014): 6,287
  • Full-time gainfully occupied persons (as at October 2014): 165,418
  • Part-time gainfully occupied persons (as at October 2014): 58,924
  • Labour supply (full-time gainfully occupied population and registered unemployed population) (as at October 2014): 172,014
  • Persons Employed in Financial & Insurance activities (as at October 2014): 8,165 
  • GDP at current prices (annual 2014): €7,961.5 million
  • GDP growth rate at constant prices Annual 2014: 3.5%
  • Inflation rate 2014 (12-month moving average):  0.8% 
  • Foreign Direct Investment in Malta (as at June 2014): €136.8 billion (97.9% originating from financial and insurance activities)
  • Goods and Services exports (as at Q4 2014): €2,785,934
  • Goods and Services imports (as at Q4 2014): €2,757,848
  • Regular Internet users (2014): 239,225 (persons aged 16-74)

Business in Malta

Banking & Financial Services in Malta

Much of Malta’s economic growth can be attributed to the excellent regulation of banks and the financial services sector. Maltese banks also have a strong local deposit base, and the banking sector is not significantly exposed to foreign sovereign debt risks. In addition, assets held by the island’s five core banks are twice the size of Malta’s GDP, which itself is only half the EU average.

Malta’s banking system is well regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority. On 1 May 2004 the Central Bank of Malta joined the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) and on 1 January 2008 it became part of the Eurosystem. The main objective of the Eurosystem and the Central Bank of Malta is to maintain price stability. In order to meet this objective, the Central Bank of Malta participates in the preparation and decision-making process of the Eurosystem’s monetary policy.

The country's banks are able to provide a full range of personal, commercial and trade services to clients. With five retail banks and over 20 international commercial and trade banks already operating in or from Malta, this sector has become one of the most robust on the island. With the growing number of insurance companies that choose to domicile in Malta, Malta's banks have also built expertise in the management of insurance company investment portfolios.

Business Culture in Malta

A similar etiquette to that of the UK prevails, though retaining a Mediterranean flavour. Meetings and the way business is conducted may be less formal than in Northern Europe, however, appointments need to be scheduled in advance and punctuality is expected and appreciated.

Business attire is suits and business cards should always be presented; business people should be formally addressed, especially those in senior positions, until a relationship is established, where a first-name basis would then be appropriate. International Malta uses English as an official language, alongside Maltese. Use of English is universal, making Malta instantly accessible to anyone conversant in English. Many Maltese also speak a third language, usually Italian, German or French.

Business Hours in Malta

Offices are usually open between 08:00/09:00 and 17:00/18:00 from Monday to Friday although this can vary according to the industry. Most offices are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. In summer, most government offices work half days. Most banks are open from 08:00 to 14:00 from Monday to Friday, and Saturday until 12:00.

Retail outlets are typically open between 09:00 and 19:00 from Monday to Saturday although there are still certain outlets that do close for lunch between the hours of 13:00 and 16:00. Shops are generally not open on Sundays and public holidays though certain retail outlets are open in the main tourist centres. There are open-air markets in certain towns and villages as well as a daily street market in Valletta.

Government Regulation & Tax System

Malta is an independent parliamentary republic with a parliament-elected president as head of state, and a prime minister leading an elected government for five-year terms. The country has a long-established and strong democratic tradition with high levels of voter participation. It is a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe, the United Nations and the Commonwealth. The rule of law is respected in civil society and the power is smoothly transferred following, regular, fair and open elections. No one group or class dominates the society or the economy. The Maltese Government has a tradition of encouraging foreign investors to establish operations in Malta and has always adopted policies that favour an open economy and direct investment. In fact, Malta is one of the EU's most open economies as a traditional trading nation reliant on import and export. Read further information about the tax system in Malta.

Key Facts about Doing Business in Malta

  • Short Travel Times: By air, main European hubs and North Africa can be reached in two to three hours
  • Excellent ICT Connections: Satellite technology and high capacity fibre-optic submarine cables link Malta with Europe
  • Major Transhipment Centre: Malta Freeport is a main regional hub
  • EU Member State: Passporting rights for services and companies
  • Regional Ties: Malta has cultural and historic connections to countries in North Africa and the Middle East
  • CET Time Zone: One hour ahead of GMT
  • Schengen Zone: Malta is part of the Schengen area, which allows travel between member states without internal border controls

People & Language

English, a joint official language with Maltese, is universally spoken and written and is the language of education and business in Malta. Many Maltese are fluent in Italian, and also speak German and French with major world languages easily sourced due to the influx of foreigners settling in Malta.

The high education and training level of the Maltese labour force is a key competitive factor. The Maltese have a very high regard for education and some 60 per cent of students remain in education to tertiary level with many opting to follow post-graduate courses both at the University of Malta and at foreign universities. The University of Malta is the oldest in the Commonwealth outside Britain, and enjoys an excellent reputation worldwide.

Malta’s comparatively low ancillary labour costs, an excellent work ethic and a highly-motivated workforce make it a very cost-effective location.  Salaries average out at one-third to half of those found in the EU of 12 countries.  There is a large pool of professionals with Law, Business & Management, Communications and Medicine being the dominant courses read at university.

Public Holidays in Malta

New Year’s Day (1 January) 
Feast of St Paul's Shipwreck (10 February) 
Feast of St Joseph the Worker (19 March)
Good Friday
(changes annually)
Freedom Day (31 March) 
Labour Day (1 May) 
Commemoration of the 1919 Uprising/Sette Giugno (7 June) 
Feast of St Peter and St Paul (29 June) 
Feast of the Assumption (15 August) 
Nativity of Our Lady (8 September) 
Independence Day (21 September) 
Feast of the Immaculate Conception (8 December) 
Republic Day (13 December) 
Christmas Day (25 December)

AirMalta flying over Malta