Ray: "Living on Gozo is naturally a lot slower pace of life"

Expat interviews
  • Raymond in Malta
Published on 2016-08-26 at 10:15
Raymond felt in love with Malta after diving holidays and since three years, he lives there. Come to discover his testimony.

Hello Raymond, could you quickly introduce yourself and tell us more about your projects in Malta?

Married with one son, I worked in the packaging industry for many enjoyable years but in later life I changed to a career selling narrowboats on the canal system at Whilton Marina, the largest boat brokerage in the UK. I actually enjoyed it so much I carried on till I was 68 and then chance brought us to Malta & Gozo.

Why did you choose to live in Malta?

We were asked to join our son and daughter in law on their diving holiday to Gozo.

That was in May and we liked it so much we were back, on our own, in September and then again in December to see what the winter was like. We still liked what we saw, the slower pace of life and the climate and arranged a lease on a house with pool in Gozo which we took over in March 2013 and have never looked back. I think the fact that English is spoken widely also had a bearing on us moving here as neither of us is good at languages having always holidayed in the US.

Church in Malta

What happened after you reached Malta? How was your integration?

When we first arrived, everything went very smoothly and most locals were very, very helpful. The most difficult thing was eResidence application, when we came in December we thought we would register and get our ID then but were told there was no point and we should do it in March when we moved here as the new eResidence system was starting in January. We had to email for an appointment and trying to get a response was impossible, then around April - May the system changed again and you could apply by post but it took till October to get our cards!

You spoke about the difficulties to get the Visa, can you tell us more on the process to get it?

It is not a visa, if you are an EU citizen, you are entitled to come and live in Malta but you are required to advise the authorities of your intention to remain after 90 days. This is done by applying for an eResidence card which contains your residence documentation and your ID number. For TCNs the situation is different and the details are in the sticky at the beginning of the Malta forum.

Landscape in Malta

What does your every day life look like in Malta?

Living on Gozo is naturally a lot slower pace of life and there are a limited number of options to fill the day. With interests that centred around rivers and lakes in the UK the lack of these is the main thing I miss here so life has become quite lazy for me. Most days are filled by either shopping and visits to the coast with the afternoons quite often keeping cool by our small rooftop pool and having a beer!

You said that life in Gozo was kind of lazy for you. What about Valletta, the main city. Are there more things to do? More activities?

Valletta is very nice and is a bustling city during the day but rather quiet at night. There are many shops and lots of Museums etc. during the day and at night some nice restaurants, particularly on the waterfront.

Though you are retiree, do you have a good knowledge about the local job market? What are the most dynamic economic sectors?

Fortunately being retired, I do not have the problem of finding a job, which seems to be a little difficult for many people. Even if you are professionally qualified, jobs are scarce if you do not speak Malti. It is almost impossible to find a job unless you move here first as most companies do not respond to emails and CVs from abroad. This leaves the usual IT, Gaming or Call Centres plus service sector jobs which tend to be seasonal. It is even more difficult for TCN's as by law, jobs have to be offered to suitable Maltese Nationals or EU Citizens first.

Cliff in Malta

How do you find the local lifestyle?

Whilst most locals who you have dealings with are fine, many others will be out for themselves whether that is just pushing in front in a queue or retailers who ignore you and serve all locals first, it seems to be very common. It is however something that you quickly get used to.

What are the big differences between Maltese culture and English culture?

Moving from the UK to Malta is certainly something of a culture shock particularly with regards to noise and consideration of others. I have never known such a noisy nationality, every conversation between locals sounds as though it is going to come to blows or that they are talking from different ends of a football pitch, cars seem to have about 10 doors with many now having built in 'Boom Boom' music and dogs are only kept for barking.

Malta, as an island in the middle of Mediterranean sea, is a land chosen by african refugees. How the country and people manage it?

Most Refugees, illegal or otherwise would rather reach the European mainland rather than Malta as they want to progress through to places like the UK and Germany. Benefits are not easily come by in Malta! The majority who are rescued are taken direct to Italy.

Would you like to give advice to soon-to-be expatriates in Malta?

I would suggest to everyone thinking of moving to Malta, that they visit several times in both winter and summer before deciding, and then use every source of information available. Google, Maltese and UK Government websites and the various Expat communities. On Expat.com for example.

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