Malta ranks as the 38th safest country for expats out of a total of 68, falling behind Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, and China, in the Expat Insider Survey.
This latest result show a decrease across most areas and is evidence of a shift in the way that foreign nationals perceive Malta, the Maltese, the government and the quality of life.
While ranking as the 20th top expat destination for 2018, it falls behind countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Panama, all of which are deemed to be more attractive options by the 18,000 individuals who took the survey.
Malta fell 14 places to number 25 in the ‘Ease of Settling’ category, and dropped from number six to 22 for feeling at home, when compared with the previous year. A drop of nine percentage points was also registered with respondents on the subject of whether the locals are friendly.
One respondent said: “There is, generally, an unfriendly attitude towards foreigners in Malta and it can be difficult to socialise with local residents”.
The survey noted that respondents found friendlier locals in Egypt, Morocco, the UAE and Kenya.
One of the biggest drops in the ranking was in the ‘Quality of Life Index’ where Malta fell by 19 places to number 28. Respondents cited poor socialising and leisure options as well as a lack of available leisure activities as reasons for a decrease in their quality of life.
It comes as no surprise that Malta’s political situation has had an effect on expats’ perceptions, with only 56% giving a thumbs up to local politicians, compared to a global average of 63%.
“Corruption seems endemic at all levels of society,” said a respondent. Another added that “the horrendous corruption in every aspect of governance is appalling”.
When it comes to travel and transport, Malta receives one of the lowest rankings in the list – at 57 out of 58. Malta falls behind India and Egypt on the quality of its public transport.
Cost of living puts Malta at 33, making it more expensive than Germany, Cyprus, Spain and Russia.
‘Digital Life’ ranks the country’s ability to keep up with global digitisation. The so-called “Blockchain Island” with its digital agenda being pushed by the Maltese government, only gained a placement at number 42.