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Immigration Status of British Citizens Resident in Malta in case of a No-Deal Brexit

Legal Notice 63 of 2019 on the ‘Immigration Status of British CitizensResident In Malta On The Withdrawal DateOf The United Kingdom From The EuropeanUnion Regulations’ has provided regulations which are to come into force on the day following a no-deal Brexit, unless a withdrawal agreement concluded between the European Union and the United Kingdom has entered into force by that date.

The Legal Notice applies to a British Citizen who holds British Nationality under the British Nationality Act, however excludes those holding British nationality status British nationals (Overseas), British Overseas Territories citizens, British overseas citizens, British protected persons, and British subjects.

Residence Rights

According to the Legal Notice, British Citizens who were residents in Malta prior to the withdrawal date, who are self-sufficient and have sickness insurance, are entitled to continue residing in Malta and enjoy the right of free movement into and from Malta. A British citizen who holds a valid Certificate under the Residents Scheme Regulations is also entitled to the same status provided that the said Certificate is relinquished and an application is submitted within 2 years from the withdrawal date.

The family member – including the spouse, the direct descendants who are under the age of twenty-one or are dependants, and the dependent direct relatives in the ascending line – or partner of the British citizen shall also enjoy such right of residence even if they were not residing in Malta on the withdrawal date.

An exception to this is that the family member or partner of a child born to or adopted by the said British citizen, shall not enjoy such right of residence if the relationship or partnership is established subsequent to the withdrawal date.

Moreover, when a divorce, separation or death of the British citizen, occurs prior to the withdrawal date and such family member had continued to enjoy the right of residence, such family member shall continue to enjoy such right of residence exclusively in his own respect.

Validity of Period of Status

This status shall be valid for a period of ten years from the withdrawal date, which status can also be renewed upon application.

Entitlements

A beneficiary of these regulations shall be entitled to:

  1. take up any employment or self-employed activities in Malta and shall not require an employment licence for that purpose;
  2. access to healthcare in the same way as prior to the withdrawal date:
  3. if he is a worker or student, or his family member;
  4. if on this date he has a certificate of entitlement under the S1 scheme;
  5. if they are economically self-sufficient and do not fall under the previous sub-paragraphs;
  6. access to education; eligibility for study and maintenance grants and loans shall apply if the beneficiary has resided in Malta for 5 years;
  7. recognition of diplomas, certificates and professional qualifications in accordance with Maltese legislation, provided that an application for such recognition has been submitted prior to the withdrawal date;
  8. access to goods and services and the supply of goods and services made available to the public;
  9. social benefits including housing benefits;
  10. exchange of driving licence issued by the competent authority in the United Kingdom into a driving licence issued by the competent authority in Malta

Cessation of Rights

The entitlement to the status shall cease if:

  1. the beneficiary is absent from Malta for a continuous period of two years. The continuity of residence shall however not be affected by: temporary absences not exceeding a total of six months in each year; or absences of a longer duration for compulsory military service; or one absence of a maximum of twelve consecutive months for important reasons
  2. it is contrary to the public interest or public security that the beneficiary enjoys such status;
  3. the beneficiary has been found guilty of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment for one year or more, in Malta or abroad following withdrawal date; or
  4. the beneficiary no longer has enough funds, equivalent to the national minimum wage in Malta, to maintain himself in Malta; or no longer has sickness insurance, or becomes a burden on the Maltese social assistance system. Entitlement of his third country national family member or partner shall also cease; or
  5. the beneficiary does not submit an application for a residence permit within 2 years from the withdrawal date; or
  6. entitlement was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact; or
  7. the beneficiary is the spouse or registered partner, who is a third country national and who, following 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. Entitlement of his third country national family member shall also cease; or
  8. the beneficiary is the de facto partner, who is a third country national and whose relationship with the British citizen from whom he has derived such status no longer subsists; Entitlement of his third country national family member shall also cease.

A person who is divested of the status shall have the right to lodge an appeal to the Board.

Article by Dr Maria Attard.

For more information on Citizenship and Residence Schemes please contact Dr Ivan Gatt on igatt@gtgadvocates.com

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to impart legal advice and readers are asked to seek verification of statements made before acting on them.