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Residency & Wealth Management

British expat in Malta? Here are your rights and obligations

In line with S.L. 217.25 [1] issued on the 1st of February 2020, British expats living in Malta will continue to enjoy their EU residency right even though the United Kingdom left the European Union on 31st January 2020. This also applies to all the British nationals moving to Malta during the transition period between 1st February and 31st December 2020.


There are no resource benchmarks for family members accompanying the main sponsors in the 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 depend on the national rules as agreed upon between the UK and Malta.

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 the expiration of 3 months from your date of arrival in Malta, 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 entered into an 11-month transition period, which allows 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: what you need to know

  • British citizens do not require a Visa to visit Malta.
  • UK nationals already residing in Malta or who are settling in Malta during the transition period, are required to submit their Maltese residency application to Identity Malta Agency before 30th June 2021.
  • In the case that the UK nationals decide to reside in Malta after the 31st December 2020, then the individual submitting the application is required to submit such application form within 3 months after their arrival in Malta.


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 three months of your arrival into Malta. 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.


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 must request an S1 certificate from the Overseas Healthcare Service.


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 to EU countries

  • Before travelling, 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.
  • 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 and Gozo

Minimum value limits will apply when purchasing property as a UK national wishing to reside in Malta. You will need to apply for an Acquisition of Immovable Property [AIP] Permit in order to purchase primary residence, unless the immovable property is situated in a Special Designated Area in Malta or Gozo.


How we can help you

For over 30 years Grant Thornton has helped foreign nationals to relocate their families and businesses to Malta. Our multidisciplinary teams can assist you with:

  • Application for residency;
  • Acquisition of an immovable property permit and support to find suitable accommodation for you and your family in Malta and Gozo;
  • Personal and corporate taxation advice;
  • Company redomiciliation.

Speak now with one of our specialists to get expert advice and start planning your future in Malta.


[1] Residence Status of United Kingdom Nationals and their Family Members in Malta in accordance with the Agreement on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community Regulations.