Residency Malta has received 180 applicants for a temporary residency scheme launched for nomads who want to move to Malta but work remotely.
Launched in June 2021, the programme offers a six-month visa and the option of obtaining a one-year ‘Nomad Residence Permit’. It costs €300.
The majority of applicants are from the UK and the USA, have an average age of 37 and are predominately male.
This was announced by the CEO of Residency Malta Charles Mizzi during a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
According to Mizzi, most applicants are employed. They are followed by self-employed and tailed by freelancers. The most popular sectors are IT, management and marketing.
“To date, we have received 180 applications, an average of one each working day. We also received hundreds of queries, which we hope will translate into applications at a later stage, especially once COVID-19 travel restrictions ease,” Mizzi said.
He pointed out that the majority of applicants have an average income of €60,000 a year and have a degree, resulting in Malta attracting "quality applicants" who will continue to contribute to the economy.
Remote working is not a new trend, but has become more realistic in the wake of the pandemic, he said.
To qualify, applicants must be non-EU individuals with a gross monthly income threshold of €2,700. They must prove they are contracted to work remotely by a company based overseas, show that they run their own business or offer freelance services to clientele based abroad.
Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship Alex Muscat said the government has been fast to respond to international trends, acknowledging the increase in remote and digital working.
“Malta is no stranger to foreign migration, and we have attracted hundreds of foreign nationals, creating a large expat community from people all around the world,” Muscat said.
He said the country reaps the benefits from digital nomads living in Malta, who rent apartments or use Airbnbs, use public transport, dine out and explore cultural sites.
“At the same time, the country is also attracting new ideas, skills and talents. Digital nomads have a reputation for also being entrepreneurs, most of them relatively young, adventurous, and willing to launch their ideas in new markets,” Muscat said.
Digital nomads see Malta as 'hub' for remote working
Daniel Goebel, who moved to Malta as a remote worker back in 2015, has seen a drastic change in the infrastructure for remote workers like himself.
“Before, there was very little infrastructure or places were remote workers could go, but the pandemic changed that and Malta is a main attraction for many digital nomads like myself,” he said.
As the founder of the Malta Digital Association, he has seen an increase in nomads making Malta their home.
Now, Malta has internet connections everywhere, and the size of the island also makes it easier for expats to travel to different cultural activities.
“One of the main attractions about living here is the sun, but also the friendly Maltese society and community, it is also a very safe place,” he said.
“Many remote workers look out for other remote workers to exchange business ideas, inspiration and contacts and there is a very strong digital nomad community here.”
Also speaking during the press conference was the founder of the business Nomad Visa Malta Luca Arrigo who highlighted how nomads contribute to Malta's economy.
"Many digital nomads come here with the intention of sharing new ideas and to create start-ups. Such nomads live in Malta on a long-term basis, contributing much more than a tourist who stays here for just a week or two," he said.