The Republic of Malta, a former colony of Great Britain until 1964 has since maintained a special relationship with the UK.
Added to which, as the only one of two European Commonwealth members, Malta’s relationship with the UK, is based on mutual cultural, legal, and economic understanding.
Accordingly, Legal Notice No. 63 of 2019 (“Legal Notice”) goes some way to protecting British persons resident in Malta before the Brexit withdrawal date – whenever that may be.
Who is included?
The Legal Notice sets out persons to whom these provisions will apply: “British Citizen” means a person who holds British Nationality under the British Nationality Act excluding those holding the following British nationality status:
- British nationals (Overseas),
- British overseas territories citizens (BOTC),
- British overseas citizens (BOC),
- British protected persons (BPP),
- British subjects (BS)
As well as a British citizen who holds a valid certificate under the Residents Scheme Regulations, if such person within 2 years from UK’s withdrawal date, exchanges their status to the residency status under the Legal Notice.
The provisions of the Legal Notice will apply to established family members of British persons, even if that family member is not residing in Malta as of the withdrawal date. The above rules apply to children adopted or born after the withdrawal date to the British person.
In cases where the British person has died, or divorced or separated, the family member may still have the right to reside in Malta if they have the right to reside under the Free Movement of European Union Nationals and their Family Members Order.
Length of Residency Permit
10 years, renewable subject to the person continuing to meet the requirements set out in the Legal Notice.
Applications are to be submitted to the CEO of Identity Malta. The CEO of Identity Malta shall refer all applications to the Principal Immigration Officer to ensure the application is not against the public interest.
Until approval of the application under this Legal Notice, the British person’s (and residing family members’) previous residency rights shall continue to subsist.
Benefits & Related Rights
Except for regulated professions, all rights held by the persons shall continue, prior to Brexit with access to:
- Healthcare – if a worker or student
- Healthcare entitlements – if covered by the S1 scheme (formerly residual E106),
- Healthcare entitlements if self employed
- Access to education – except that grants or loans may only be given to persons who have resided in Malta for at least 5 years prior to the withdrawal date.
Equal treatment on par with a Maltese citizen as to :
- Recognition of educational qualifications – provided that an application is submitted prior to the withdrawal date to recognise diplomas, certificates and professional qualifications in accordance with Maltese legislation
- Access to goods and services
- Social benefits, provided that the person does not become a burden on the Maltese social assistance programme.
British nationals will also be able to exchange their UK driving license for a Maltese license without having to take the test.
Loss of Rights
The rights granted to British persons (and appropriate family members) will be lost if the beneficiary is absent from Malta for a continuous period of 2 years, not including:
- Temporary absences of 6 months in a year
- Absences due to compulsory military service
- One absence of a maximum of 12 consecutive months due to important reasons such as pregnancy, serious illness, study or vocational training or a work positing outside of Malta
- It is contrary to the public interest or public security
- After the withdrawal date the beneficiary is found guilty of an offence and subject to imprisonment of 1 year or more, whether in Malta or abroad
- Does not have sufficient funds, equivalent to the national minimum wage, to support themselves, or becomes a burden on the Maltese social assistance system
- No application for the Brexit Permit is received within 2 years of the withdrawal date
- Concealment of any material fact, by way of fraud, false representation
- Beneficiary is spouse or partner who is a 3rd country national, whom after the withdrawal date divorces or separates from the British citizen within 3 years of the marriage or registration of the partnership
- A de-facto partner of a British citizen, whose relationship no longer exists.
Refusals & Appeals
Refusals by the Maltese Government should be supplied with reasons, in writing, for the basis of the decision, unless this is contrary to public security. An appeal can be submitted to the Immigration Appeals Board, on the basis and within the time period notified to the British national.
British nationals resident in Malta prior to the Brexit withdrawal date are urged to regularise their position.
- Older persons and persons not deemed a worker or student on holding an S1 scheme permit should make inquiries as to an appropriate health insurance
- Persons in ‘regulated professions’ such as lawyers, doctors, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, vets are urged to contact their regulating profession in Malta in order to ascertain their work / license status. You can find out whether you are part of a regulated profession here: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/regprof/index.cfm .
You are urged to submit their qualifications to the Malta Qualifications Recognition Information Centre prior to Brexit.