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Country Reports

Malta Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Malta's attractive tax regime, involving considerable tax exemptions and incentives for investment, is a major pull factor particularly for financial services and is likely to remain unchanged under the current Labour government.Although Malta has long been accused of failing to take serious action against high-level cases of money laundering, anti-money laundering (AML) provisions have recently been tightened under pressure from the European Commission. The ease with which foreign companies are able to register subsidiaries and qualify for low tax rates has also come under EU scrutiny.According to the April forecast, we project economic growth to slow from an estimated 5.9% in 2018 to around 3.0% in 2019-20. These remain decent growth estimates and reflect broadly solid GDP developments in Malta, but the anticipated slowdown reflects diminishing support from slowing growth across the rest of the eurozone. Although EU membership provides the basis for sustained growth and investment, Maltese GDP growth continues to face the challenges of its small domestic market and distance from other EU markets. The main obstacles for foreign firms operating in Malta are likely to remain inefficient bureaucracy and, to a lesser degree, bribery and corruption. The country’s transport infrastructure is currently substandard, but the government has made a comprehensive revamp – including upgrades to roads, tunnels, bridges, and a new tunnel to the island of Gozo – one of its main policy priorities.Organised crime on the island is involved in the trafficking of drugs, people, and fuel, as well as money laundering through the sizeable online gambling sector. There have been seven targeted VBIED attacks in Malta since the beginning of 2016 – including the killing of prominent investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia – all thought to be linked to criminal organisations. Although foreign businesses or expatriates are unlikely to be targeted directly, there is a risk of collateral injury and property damage.
Last update: April 25, 2019

Operational Outlook

One of the government's main policy priorities is likely to be a much-needed revamp of the country's transport infrastructure, including upgrades to roads, tunnels, and bridges. An undersea tunnel to the island of Gozo is also being planned. Malta has an efficient labour force with a large English-speaking contingent. Labour costs are still relatively low compared with other EU member states. A relatively inefficient bureaucracy – and to a lesser extent corruption – continue to pose operational obstacles to foreign and domestic investment. The Maltese have frequently opposed market liberalisation programmes introduced by the government, with trade unions staging protests against privatisation efforts.

Last update: June 13, 2019

Terrorism

Moderate

Malta’s outlying nature and proximity to Islamic State elements in Libya makes it a likely transit destination for militants crossing the Mediterranean to reach mainland Europe. The consolidation of the Islamic State in Libya also raises the threat of attacks on maritime targets in Malta’s vicinity, such as cruise liners. Yet terrorism risks on the island itself remain very low. The suicide bomb attack at the Maltese-Libyan-owned Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli, in January 2015, was not directed at Malta in terms of target choice.

Last update: June 21, 2019

Crime

The security environment is generally favourable to foreign investment. Petty crime can be a problem in urban areas, but crime specifically targeting tourists is rare. Malta’s location in the heart of the Mediterranean makes Malta a small-scale transit country for smuggling of both drugs and people. Malta has experienced nine targeted bomb attacks since 2010, related to gang feuds. The country has taken steps to improve oversight over its financial sector in recent years.

Last update: June 13, 2019

War Risks

The main risk involves search and seizure of vessels by the navy while it conducts counter-narcotic and counter-terrorism operations; a maritime territorial dispute exists with Libya, especially over oil claims, but is highly unlikely to turn violent, especially given the current domestic instability in Libya.

Last update: June 13, 2019

Social Stability

Low

Malta's unionised labour force occasionally initiates large strike action, often in response to the government's privatisation efforts. Strikes are almost always short-lived, lasting no more than one day, and carry only low risks of property damage. Strike action is further mitigated by the cautious approach to privatisation adopted by the current government, ruling out privatisations in strategic sectors such as energy.

Last update: June 13, 2019

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever (YFV) transmission and over nine months of age. If indicated on epidemiologic grounds, infants under nine months of age are subject to isolation or surveillance if coming from an area with risk of YFV transmission. No certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required for travelers having transited through an airport located in a country with risk of YFV transmission.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Malta has a Mediterranean climate, with hot and dry summers tempered by ocean breezes. Winters are mild and sunny. Temperatures can reach up to 40°C in July and August and usually hover around 15°C in the winter months. The country experiences a relatively rainy season between November and February, but annual levels of precipitation are generally low.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +356
Police: 112
Fire Dept.: 112
Ambulance: 112

Electricity

Voltage: 240 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019