Editorial: Malta, the workation destination

Last Updated on Friday, 14 January, 2022 at 11:10 am by Andre Camilleri

It’s no secret Malta has been a desirable location for digital nomads for some time, and this week’s news from KAYAK, the leading travel agency, augments that fact, with Malta scoring highly, a desirable 6th place for workation worldwide.

Working from home has become much more common, with many companies adopting a hybrid approach even after lockdowns. This new normal presents employees with an interesting opportunity: the workation. With a significant number of people working remotely or according to a hybrid model, business leaders realise that some people are equally (if not more) productive outside the office.

There are plenty of productivity and collaboration tools out there to support remote work for the roles in which being in an office isn’t essential to get the job done. Giant techs such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are now offering flexible remote opportunities for various positions, even post-pandemic.

What’s more, the past two years helped us realise that working the regular old 9 to 5 is not for everyone. Having the flexibility to choose when to do your work and knowing when you are the most productive and efficient is key to performing and feeling your best. It’s positive that MTA and Residency Malta has recognised these shifts in working trends and welcomes digital nomads to Malta with a specifically tailored visa. The Nomad Residence Permit enables holders to retain their current employment-based in another country whilst legally residing in Malta. In addition, the permit is open to individuals who can work remotely and independently using telecommunications technologies.

Of course, Malta already hosts and welcomes digital nomads from the EU. This community of entrepreneurial expats make the most of Malta’s island vibes, a nomad lifestyle, business networking opportunities and cultural experiences. The Nomad Residence Permit is open to individuals from third countries, who would typically (but not necessarily) require a Visa to travel to Malta. The permit can be issued for one year. It can be renewed upon application at the discretion of Residency Malta, as long as the applicant still meets the set eligibility criteria.

At the same time, we cannot ignore the fact Malta ranked poorly for expats who live and work for local companies in another recent survey. The Expat Insider survey for 2021 was published by the global expat networking community InterNations, which asked 12,420 participants, representing 174 nationalities living in 186 countries, to rank the countries they were living in on several indices. These were grouped into four criteria – quality of life, ease of settling in; personal finance, and working abroad. The most popular destinations were ranked according to the scores given to them by expat residents. Malta ranked an appalling 50th on the list of 59 destinations. It’s positive we are appealing to digital nomads. But, if we are seemingly scoring poorly with expats who have reshuffled their lives to be here, we must urgently work to understand and remediate those needs. Although feedback is rife within social media, from high rents to poor salaries, we cannot let this statistic go unnoticed and maintain the “go back to your country” mantra. Malta might be dreamy for those on a workation, but we need to ensure it appeals to those living and working here too.

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