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The Status of British Citizens Residing in Malta Pre-Brexit – The Post-Brexit “No Deal” Scenario
British citizens - who on and prior to the UK's EU withdrawal date were inter alia resident in Malta and able to maintain themselves - would be entitled to continue residing in Malta and enjoy the right of free movement into and from Malta, including other legal entitlements, such as the right to work, access to health, education, social benefits etc., subject of course to certain conditions. This legal status lasts 10 years, unless renewed. There is also a provision affecting UK individuals who benefit from the Residents Scheme Regulations (S.L.123.79) requiring a certain procedure for compliance.
Last April, the Legal Notice Number 63 of 2009 entitled Immigration Status of British Citizens Resident in Malta on the Withdrawal Date of the United Kingdom from the European Union (the “Legal Notice”) was published. A British citizen is a person who holds British Nationality under the British Nationality Act and shall exclude those persons holding British Nationality status.
The Legal Notice establishes that a British citizen, who on the UK’s EU withdrawal date was resident in Malta, and was in Malta prior to the said date after having satisfied the requirements stipulated in the provisions of the Free Movement of European Union Nationals and their Family Members Order (the “Order”), shall be entitled to continue to reside in Malta and enjoy the right of free movement into and from Malta, provided that such British citizen has enough funds to maintain himself and has sickness insurance. Further legal entitlements include the right to work in Malta without the necessity of obtaining an employment license, access to healthcare and healthcare entitlements, social benefits, education, and other rights subject, of course, to certain conditions.
Family members or a partner of the British citizen shall also enjoy such right of residence even if the said family member or partner was not residing in Malta on the withdrawal date. However, in the case of divorce, separation or death of the British citizen, where this has occurred prior to the withdrawal date and where such family member had continued to enjoy the right of residence in accordance with the provisions of the Order, such family member shall continue to enjoy such right exclusively in his own respect.
If a residence permit under these regulations is approved, the legal status conferred by such residence permit shall last for 10 years from the withdrawal date, unless revoked in terms of the Legal Notice. After the lapse of the 10 years, the residence permit may be renewed and approval thereof shall be subject to the conditions set out in the Legal Notice being satisfied.
There is also a provision affecting UK individuals who benefit from the Residents Scheme Regulations (S.L.123.79) requiring a certain procedure for compliance.
The Legal Notice also provided that the status grated therein shall cease if:
- the beneficiary absents himself from Malta for a continuous period of two years subject to certain conditions; or
- if it is contrary to the public interest or public security that the beneficiary continues to enjoy such status; or
- if the beneficiary, after the withdrawal date, is found guilty of an offence and is imprisoned for one year or more as a consequence thereof, in Malta or abroad; or
- the beneficiary no longer has enough funds to maintain himself in Malta, which funds shall be equivalent to the national minimum wage in Malta; or
- the beneficiary no longer has sickness insurance, or becomes a burden on the Maltese social assistance system, or
- the beneficiary does not submit an application for a residence permit under these regulations 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 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; or
- 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; or
- the beneficiary is a third country national family member or partner of the person mentioned in paragraph (d), or a third country national family member of the person mentioned in (h) and (i).
The Legal Notice provides for an appeal procedure in case of refusal or revocation of this status on any of the mentioned grounds.
The Legal Notice will come into force on the day after the Treaties of the EU cease to apply to the UK, unless a Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK has entered into force by that date.
Authors: Adrian Camilleri @ Ganado Advocates