The Government of Malta has by means of Legal Notice 63 of 2019, recently published new rules, applicable to British citizens residing in Malta on the day the Treaties of the European Union (EU) shall cease to apply to the United Kingdom (UK), unless a withdrawal agreement between the EU and the UK has entered into force by that date, hereinafter referred to as the ‘withdrawal date’.
The rules are applicable to all British Citizens, i.e. those persons holding British nationality under the British Nationality Act, excluding those holding the following British nationality status a) British nationals (Overseas) b) British overseas territories citizens (BOTC) c) British overseas citizens (BOC) d) British projected persons (BPP) and e) British subjects (BS).
A British citizen who on the withdrawal date was resident in Malta shall be entitled to continue to reside in Malta, provided that such citizen has enough funds to maintain himself in Malta and that he has a sickness insurance policy. A beneficiary may be entitled to enjoy such status for a period of 10 years from the withdrawal date. Such status shall be renewed upon application provided that the necessary conditions continue to be satisfied.
Rights of family members or partners to reside in Malta
A family member or a partner of the British citizen shall enjoy such right of residence even if the said family member or partner was not residing in Malta on the withdrawal date. With the exception of a child born to or adopted by a British citizen, family members or partners shall not enjoy such right of residence if the relationship or partnership is established after the withdrawal date.
In the case of divorce, separation or death of the British citizen occurring prior to the withdrawal date and where such family members would have continued to enjoy the right of residence in terms of the provisions of the Free Movement of European union nationals and Their Family Members Order, such family members shall continue to enjoy such right of residence in their own respect.
Related rights obtained in terms of these rules
A beneficiary shall be entitled to:
- take up any employment or self-employment in Malta without the need to obtain an employment licence;
- health care to himself and his family members in the same way as prior to the withdrawal date if he is a worker or a student, if he is in possession of a certificate of entitlement under the S1 scheme; if he and his family members are economically self-sufficient;
- access to education in the same way as other EU nationals exercising their right to free movement in Malta;
- equal treatment with Maltese nationals with regard to recognition of diplomas, certificates and professional qualifications, provided that an application for such recognition has been submitted prior to the withdrawal date;
- equal treatment with Maltese nationals as regards access to goods and services and the supply of goods and services made available to the public;
- social benefits including housing benefits in the same way as other EU nationals exercising their right to free movement in Malta, provided that he does not become a burden on the Maltese social assistance system;
- exchange his UK driving licence with a Maltese one.
Cessation of rights
Entitlement to the status under these rules will cease if:
- beneficiary absents himself from Malta for a continuous period of two years. Provided that continuity of residence shall not be affected by (i) temporary absences not exceeding a total of six months in each year; or (ii) absences of a longer duration for compulsory military service; or (iii) one absence of a maximum of twelve consecutive months for important reasons including pregnancy and child birth, serious illness, study or vocational training or a posting outside Malta; or
- it is contrary to the public interest or public security; or
- the beneficiary, after the withdrawal date, has been found guilty of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment for one year or more; or
- the beneficiary no longer has enough funds to maintain himself (equivalent to the national minimum wage in Malta) or is no longer in a possession of a sickness insurance policy; or
- the beneficiary does not submit an application for a residence permit within 2 years from the withdrawal date; or
- such entitlement was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact; or
- the beneficiary is a third country national and is the spouse or registered partner who after the withdrawal date, separates or divorces from the British citizen from whom he has derived such status, during the three year period following the date of marriage or registration of partnership; or
- the beneficiary is a third country national who is a de facto partner and whose relationship with the British citizen from whom he has derived such status no longer subsists; or
- the beneficiary is a third country national family member or partner of the person mentioned in (d) above or a third country national family member of the mentioned in (g) and (h).
The Legal Notice also provides for an appeal procedure in case of refusal or revocation of the status.
Beneficiaries of a special tax status in terms of ‘The Residence Programme’ (TRP) rules
British beneficiaries holding a valid certificate under the TRP rules shall also be entitled to the residence status under these rules provided that such beneficiary relinquishes such certificate and submits an application within two years from the withdrawal date.