The best of both worlds? | Alex Muscat

Those that move on to other territories will become ambassadors for Malta, encouraging others to live here or do business here

We have a new community in Malta of people who live with us but work elsewhere. They seize the opportunities of internet connectivity to work alongside their colleagues in the virtual world, while they are physically based on our islands. Given the success of home working during the pandemic, it is not hard to imagine how this practice will become more popular in the years ahead.  These nomads are getting the best of both worlds, keeping up their traditional work while enjoying new experiences far from home.

Malta’s Nomad Residence Permit initiative has got off to a good start. And its all down to Residency Malta Agency’s comprehensive efforts. With millions of people on the move worldwide and the increasingly popular trend to work remotely, we have sought to acknowledge this global development and to be a step ahead of it.

Malta is no stranger to economic migration. We have attracted hundreds of foreign nationals over the years to come and work in our well-established industries and for companies who opened their doors here.

Creating a large local expat community from countries all over Europe.

This is why we sought to create a new economic niche that is ever-increasingly gaining momentum in the world of investment migration.

People are embracing a new way of working remotely, and Malta wanted to jump at this opportunity to welcome digital nomads from all over the world.

Residency Malta envisioned to offer a helpful network of resources for digital nomads seeking to live on an island which enjoys almost 300 days of favourable weather.

In the first six months of operations, the agency received about 180 applications. The majority are from English speaking countries, the United Kingdom and the United States. Most are male with a degree.

The average age is 27 years old. Most are employed by companies, but a significant number are self-employed. They tend to work in management, IT and marketing earning €60,000 on average, which is nearly double the minimum threshold we set.

They still pay their income tax in their home country with their contribution to the Maltese economy coming through their expenditure on rent, food and drink and leisure pursuits.

Compared to a tourist, who will fork out on accommodation and restaurants for a week or two, nomads are doing the same for up to a year.

The attractiveness of Malta extends beyond its strong IT structure, English language and sunshine. Nomads like to get immersed in culture and they appreciate the strong sense of community.

New friendships are being made. And safety and security are factors too. Good health care, a high covid-19 vaccination rate and safe streets are important considerations.

At the same time, the country is attracting new ideas, skills and talent. Creating also a cross-fertilisation of ideas amongst our communities here on the island.

When connections are made, everyone is a winner. Nomads can benefit from the help available to start-ups and Malta gains from the input of new skills and ideas. Who knows where these new ties will lead?

Some nomads may decide to stay long term in Malta by choosing to start a business here.

Those that move on to other territories will become ambassadors for Malta, encouraging others to live here or do business here.

We live in a world where barriers are falling. European Union membership, easier air travel, huge advances in technology and the upheaval of the pandemic have all played their part in this social revolution. But Malta has always been open to new people and Maltese migrants have helped build societies across the globe.

Our story is still unfolding and once the pandemic is over the numbers can only grow. We are strongly increasing our marketing efforts to continue attracting more digital nomads to our islands and we envisage that it will continue growing for the years to come.