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Malta welcomes South Africans who want to buy a home in the Shengen Area

Mediterranean islands conjure up dreams of azure waters, quaint villages steeped in history, healthy living and loads of sunshine all year round.

And when it comes to Malta you have all of this and so much more.

It is no wonder then that many hundreds of South Africans and their families have already made it their permanent home.

A stone’s throw from Italy, this small island nation of about half a million people has seen an influx of South Africans relocating to its sunny shores in exchange for a better, safer life, and the privilege of living in a safe and booming economy in a country with a low crime rate. The additional bonus of becoming a resident is visa-free travel to the entire Schengen Area and EEA which includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.

Being at the forefront of financial, iGaming, IT, chandler and maritime services, Malta also has one of the most popular residency schemes in the world, allowing non-EU citizens to live and work on the islands to benefit from all this mighty little country has to offer. The various programmes cover citizenship, retirement, and many other visa options for those who decide to make the move.

So what is it that makes Malta so irresistible?

1 The booming economy and thriving real estate scene

Not only has the Covid-19 pandemic had no effect on the pace of construction in Malta, the number of registrations for the purchase of new properties has broken records month after month. Property prices increases and therefore also the capital appreciation of Malta’s real estate has been among the best performers of this sector in the whole of not Europe, and even surpassing places like Hong Kong. When it comes to investing your money wisely in Malta, the saying “safe as houses” is a lucrative reality.

Like South Africa, Malta is a sun-lover’s paradise. Picture: Supplied


2 Low crime rate and safety factor

Malta has topped the list for years as one of the safest places to live in the world. This goes for both crime and natural disasters, and to be at the top of the list of hundreds of countries ranked and surveyed annually, is no mean feat.

3 Weather and climate

Malta is the go-to place for well-heeled UK nationals who want to escape the dreary grey and wet of the British Isles. With more than 2.6million international tourists visiting Malta annually, an average of 300 days of sunshine a year and winter temperatures rarely dipping below 15-20 deg C, Malta is a sun lover’s paradise. Summer starts in April and can last as late as November.

4 Language compatibility

English is spoken by more than 80% of citizens and is an official language along with Maltese. This makes it compatible for South Africans when doing business or for simply getting around. Even locals who are not fluent will do their best to help you out in English.

5 Driving

As a legacy of Malta’s British occupation, people drive on the left in Malta, as in South Africa. This makes the process of driving in Malta easy with no need to have to get used to “driving on the wrong side”. Your South African driver’s license is valid for a year in Malta before you have to obtain a Maltese one.

6 You won’t miss old favourites

With a large South African expat community you will be able to buy old favourites like koeksisters, boerewors, biltong and many other products from established companies which have set up shop in Malta. Even one of South Africa’s favourite seafood chains has opened a thriving restaurant in Bugibba and more are planned.

Hundreds of South Africans and their families have made Malta their new home. Picture: Supplied


7 Residency and visa programmes

A variety of options are available to South Africans and many Saffas have dual passports which makes it easy to move to Malta. For those who have only South African citizenship, Malta has tailor-made residency programmes that are globally well-respected and immensely popular. Administration costs for the programmes are relatively inexpensive although some of the investment criteria can be high. But with stringent due diligence procedures in place, Malta is interested in attracting only quality candidates. Once you have made the grade, there are numerous tax benefits and savings that will see you smile all the way. The Malta Permanent Residence and Visa Programme in particular is proving to be one of the most popular in Europe, while the islands also offer an EU citizenship by investment option.

8 History and culture

Valletta is the capital and was Europe’s Capital of Culture for 2018. It’s also a World Heritage site along with many others on both Malta and Gozo, and civilisation on the islands can be traced back to the Megalithic period and earlier. So with more than 5000 years of continued habitation, the islands are awash with history. The islands have seen Phoenicians, Romans, Carthaginians, Byzantines, Greeks and many more pass through over the millennia. Malta is a dream for any history and culture buff.

9 Cost of living

If you want bang for your buck, Malta is the place to be. You get value for money as it is regarded as cheaper than Italy although more expensive than Spain. But on average you get a lot for your Euro with day-to-day living expenses. For instance annual medical, car and home insurance is cheaper, there are no inheritance taxes and no municipal rates and taxes. The cost of living may be low but the standard is very high.

10 Equal rights

Malta does not tolerate discrimination of any kind and legalised same-sex marriage in September 2017.

11 Health Care

Malta’s healthcare system is regarded as one of the best globally. Healthcare plans in Malta are offered by most insurance companies and are budget friendly. If you work in Malta and contribute towards social security and pay tax, you will be able to use free healthcare within reason. State healthcare is first-world all the way.

12 Education

In Malta all children have the right to free education from the age of 4 to 16 years. Alternatively, as in South Africa, you can send your child to attend a private school at your own expense. Malta’s state schools have a very high standard.

The advantages of moving to Malta are far too numerous to cover here, so our best advice is to attend one of the webinars that local real estate company Frank Salt Real Estate organises regularly. The webinars are free and all you have to do is register at

The virtual seminars consist of presentations followed by sessions with key speakers and support teams. Among others, topics covered include real estate and investment opportunities, taxation and residency options in Malta.

The Frank Salt Real Estate Group is quintessentially Maltese and was established in 1969. It is family-owned, operated, and managed; evolving into the largest, longest established, independently owned real estate group in Malta. With more than 23 branches, the company specialises in residential sales, letting and commercial services. Ancillary services are offered including property management and home interiors.

With a strong focus on service excellence, transparency, exceptional expertise and with its one-stop-shop approach which includes guidance on relocation, the group’s reputation has achieved benchmark status in Malta and made the company popular and revered. With one of the largest databases of buyers and sellers in Malta, the group has actively promoted Malta as a prime global investment destination for decades, working with affiliate networks that span the globe.


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