Malta has truly become a cosmopolitan country, with data compiled by Lovin Malta showing there are now almost a fourth as many foreigners as there are Maltese people living here.
There are now at least 100,000 foreigners living on the islands, with the high job creation rate and shortage of unemployed Maltese people forcing several businesses to look overseas for their labour.
This is how we reached our figures
The Electoral Commission recently published the electoral register ahead of the upcoming European Parliament and local council elections.
It shows that 433,581 people are eligible to vote in the local council election and 371,625 people eligible to vote in the European Parliament election. That’s a disparity of 61,956 people, who are those EU nationals who opted against voting in the Maltese MEP elections.
While EU nationals who are residents of Malta are automatically entitled to vote in the local council elections, they must de-register in their home countries in order to vote in the Maltese MEP elections.
The vast majority of EU nationals opted against doing so, but 18,375 of them did sign up to vote for Malta’s six MEPs.
Therefore, 80,331 EU nationals live in Malta, not including those who are younger than the voting age of 16 and those who haven’t registered themselves as residents.
Data given to Lovin Malta by the national employment agency JobsPlus last March shows there are a further 18,587 third-country nationals registered as working in Malta, which added to the number of EU nationals gives a combined total of 98,918.
This, of course, is a conservative figure, as it doesn’t include foreign children, EU nationals who haven’t registered as Maltese residents, third country nationals who are either unemployed or working without a work permit, and asylum seekers waiting for their documents.
It’s fair to predict that those will push the number of foreigners in Malta over the 100,000 mark. Recent figures show that Malta’s population stands at 475,701, which means foreigners make up at least 21% of that number.
And the population is not likely to stop growing any time soon, with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat repeatedly stating that the economy needs more people to keep on growing and that his vision for Malta is that of a cosmopolitan society.