Business in Malta
#Multiculturalism and settling into a new community
Attitudes and values are the foundation of any culture. Knowing the attitudes and values of a culture can have considerable importance if you want to communicate effectively with the Maltese. But ignorance of these important aspects can result a cultural barrier and having a negative effect on the success of operations in the country.
People are friendly and courteous, as they prefer to create an atmosphere of trust before doing business. During the conversations and business meetings, Maltese partners speak in an animated and enthusiastic way, but they are generally that way in everything. They are very Mediterranean, with a typical European lifestyle. They have a strong sense of identity and pride in their traditions and are tolerant to other customs and habits. Malta has a rich cultural and social life, including music concerts, art exhibitions and the traditional religious processions.
#The integration of students
The European and International Office at the University of Malta and the Institute of Tourism Studies offer information on registration procedures, required in English and courses, on accommodation, visas, health care, school fees and financial support. The essential requirements for accessing a work placement in Malta are: students must be at least 18 years and be lower or higher university level.
There are also private organizations offering internships and job placement programs (including Erasmus and other programs funded by the EU) and the chance of developing the essential skills to get hired and gain work experience.
Generally, students are employed as unremunerated interns or trainees. Those allowed to participate in private organization-run programs must pay a fee to support services that makes them.
There are companies affiliated to the University of Malta, Institute of Tourism Studies and private organizations that offer remuneration to students with at least one year of work experience in the same or a related function.
Paid jobs, are found in Malta in the case of tour operators and hotels, bars and restaurants in the tourist areas, betting and trading companies, import and export.
The University of Malta has a residence that welcomes people travelling to Malta to broaden their academic qualifications or to visit their colleagues at the University. Some private organizations have their own housing system, providing all the facilities at attractive prices. Students can also rent a room in an apartment in town and share the costs with other students
The citizens of several countries, including EU member states, the United States and most countries of the British Crown, do not need a visa to join Malta for a stay of less than three months, but for longer stays they must apply for a residence permit.
On the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs there is information on visa forms and embassies.
In Malta, professional connections are a valued asset (recommendations etc.) when seeking an interview. Contact by email is considered an acceptable means of communication for business in order to request an interview, or to request information about products or services.
Malta organizes regular meetings of Toastmasters on the second Tuesday of each month.
There are also several LinkedIn groups involved in business promotion and presentations: Network Malta, Malta Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals in Malta.
#Face to face
In order to have effective communication with the Maltese it is important to be clear and concise, using short, simple propositions and avoiding colloquialisms.
Eye contact is essential for a meeting, but it is well not to look long your counterpart with a fixed eye, because it can be judged indiscreet.
When organizing and participating in meetings in Malta it is important to take into consideration the general principles of business etiquette, but in order to have maximum success one must also factor in the local culture and attitudes.
This applies especially when organizing the meeting (date, place), when establishing the content (the agenda), when introducing people (greetings) and when deciding the right strategies to maintain the relationship during and after the meeting (the negotiations, business meals, granting gifts).
#The attitude towards business meetings
The Maltese prefer face-to-face communication, even if the video conferences are becoming an accepted and increasingly popular means of communication. Usually, a Maltese who wants to establish contact with a foreign businessman wants to talk to the boss or the CEO of the company concerned.
The very first meetings usually follow a conservative approach and protocol because the Maltese want to know better their counterpart before discussing business. That is why the time taken to create a relationship is very important before going to work.
The Maltese tend to be pretty open-minded, but in general politics, religion and the family are personal private issues, as should we refrain from addressing during initial meetings.
The meetings with the manager or owner of a Maltese company must be determined by a written communication or a call went directly to him or their secretary.
The people of Malta are very friendly and hospitable. During the initial business meetings they shake hands and be present while submitting their business card.
When you enter an office where you get to know your business counterpart you will say "Bongu" (hello) or "bonswa" (Good evening) and before going "saħħa" (See you soon).
In Malta there are no concrete rules for dressing, but it is advisable to wear conservative clothes for business meetings.
Before concluding an agreement, Maltese partners will analyze in detail the legal aspects and conditions of the contract in writing, any familiar form or not mentioned aspect being disapproved.
Maltese private sector employees usually work 40 hours a week. The offices are open from Monday to Friday, generally between 08:00 am and 5:00 pm.