Speaking to the Times of Malta, a spokesperson from the Home Affairs Ministry has confirmed that British expats living in Malta will continue to enjoy their EU residency right once the UK leaves the European Union this Friday. This also applies to all the British nationals moving to Malta during the transition period between 1st February and 31st December 2020, which may be further extended up to two years in case of agreement between the EU and the UK.
There are no resource benchmarks for family members accompanying the main sponsors in case of EU workers and economically self-sufficient individuals and their relatives will still be required to be covered by medical insurance. Individuals moving to Malta after the transition period has ended will receive residence documents issued by the Government of Malta. The terms of residence will depend on the national rules or any other conditions agreed upon between the UK and the EU. There are currently an estimated 13,000 British nationals living in Malta, out of which 8,000 are pensioners.
If you are a British expat and you intend to keep on living and working in Malta after Brexit, then there are several obligations that you will have to comply with.
The transition period: how it works and how long it will last
As from 1st February, the UK will enter an 11-month transition period, which will allow the country to negotiate a new relationship with the EU. Such period may be extended up to 2022 or 2023. The effects of Brexit will not be felt during the transition period, as the rights of UK nationals in the EU, and of EU citizens in the UK, will remain unvaried. The freedom of movement of goods, people, services and capital over borders applies until 31 December 2020. However, when the UK leaves the single market upon expiration of the transition period, certain rights will fall off, including freedom of movement.
Registering as a UK expat resident in Malta
British citizens do not require a Visa to visit Malta. However, if you are planning to extend your staying over three months, you must apply for a residency permit with the Department of Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs, BEFORE the UK leaves the EU.
What happens in case of a deal: your rights will be fully recognized if you are legally resident in Malta before the end of the implementation period on 31 December 2020. You will still be able to access free healthcare, social benefits and enjoy the right to work in Malta;
What happens in case of a no-deal: you will need a new non-EU residency permit within two years. In the meantime, you will keep on enjoying your rights. The new residence permit will be free of charge, valid for ten years, and renewable.
If you enter Malta after the Brexit date, you will still be eligible to apply for the ten-year residency permit upon satisfying the criteria, but you will be charged as a third-country national.
Healthcare in Malta for UK expats
If you are legally resident in Malta and you are paying social security contributions, then you and your immediate family members will keep on enjoying free healthcare services. You will also be able to apply for a Maltese European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
If you don’t qualify for healthcare cover, you can still apply for a Reciprocal Health Agreement card and register with your local health centre in order to book GP appointments. You will not, however, be entitled to long-term care and treatment outside Malta. If you receive a UK state pension, you will have to request an S1 certificate from the Overseas Healthcare Service.
Healthcare in Malta
What happens in case of a deal: your current rights on access to healthcare in Malta will not change until the end of the implementation period, as long as you remain a resident in Malta.
What happens in case of a no-deal: if you are legally residing in Malta on or before 31 December 2020, your right to access healthcare as you do now will be protected under the Maltese no-deal legislation, which includes those who currently access healthcare through the S1 form.
Working rights of UK expats in Malta
What happens in case of a deal: if you are registered as living in Malta, you will continue enjoying full working rights until the end of the implementation period.
What happens in case of a no-deal: if you are in possession of the new non-EU residency document, you will still be able to continue working in Malta without the need to apply for a Visa or employment licence. Specific rules apply, however, if you plan to open a business, provide a service or work in a regulated profession.
Taxation and pensions of UK expats in Malta
Malta and the UK have a double taxation agreement in place to ensure that individuals will not pay tax on the same income in both countries. Brexit will not affect the aforementioned agreement and the UK government will continue to pay a State Pension to those eligible in the EU after Brexit.
What happens in case of a deal: if you work and pay social security contributions in Malta, you will still be able to add your previous UK social security contributions towards your Maltese pension. This will happen even if you claim your retirement after the end of the implementation period.
What happens in case of a no-deal: the Maltese government will recognise pension contributions that were made in the UK before Brexit.
Benefits for UK expats in Malta
The UK government will continue to pay child and disability benefits to those eligible in the EU after Brexit.
What happens in case of a deal: if you work and pay social security contributions in Malta, your UK contributions will be considered when applying for Maltese contributions-based benefits. This will happen even if you claim contributions-based benefits after the end of the implementation period.
What happens in case of a no-deal: the Maltese government will continue to take periods of work in the UK before Brexit into account when claiming Maltese contributions-based benefits.
Travelling the EU
Before traveling, you will have to ensure that your passport is valid.
In case of a deal you will still be able to move freely within the Schengen area up until 2020, date after which the conditions will be negotiated anew.
In case of a no-deal, you should have at least six months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland). If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, additional months might be added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over ten years may not count towards the six months needed.
Buying a property in Malta
Minimum value limits will apply when purchasing property as a third-country national. You will need to apply for an Acquisition of Immovable Property [AIP] Permit.
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This article is for informational purposes only. You should always seek the assistance of a professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.