Your Rights and Obligations as a British Expatriate Living in Malta Explained. What Happens if a Deal is Reached and What Happens if NO Deal is Reached

British Expatriate Living in Malta

At the moment there are roughly more than 13,000 British Nationals living in Malta with the majority of them, over 8,000 being pensioners or retirees. As someone with a UK Nationality or passport who intends staying, living and working in Malta after 90 days of your arrival, you will have to comply with expected rules and obligations.

On 1 February 2020, S.L. 217.25 [1] was issued in accordance with the Laws of Malta, stating that UK Nationals will carry on enjoying their residency rights even though the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. The same was to be valid for UK Nationals who moved to Malta amidst the transition period which was stated to be from 1 February 2020 until 31 December 2020.

At present there are no resource benchmarks in the case of EU workers’ family members who accompany the main sponsor and those individuals who are classified as economically self-sufficient including any family members will have to be covered by additional medical insurance. People who are UK Nationals and who move to Malta post the transition period will receive residency documents as issued by the Maltese Government, but the terms of the residency will depend on what is agreed upon by Malta and the UK.

What is described as the “Transition Period” is a timeframe of 11 months which started on 1 February 2020 during which time the UK will be allowed to negotiate what they see as their new relationship with the EU. This transition period has an option to be extended up to 2023. During this time (which currently expired on 31 December 2020) the rights of UK Nationals residing in the EU or those from the EU residing in the UK will not change from the current status quo until on 31 December 2020 when the UK leaves the single market. Thereafter certain rights will be forfeited including the freedom of movement. It remains to be seen whether this transition period as yet will be officially extended any further.

Here are some of the basic questions many are asking, as well as the answers to those questions. This is broken down into 2 scenarios, namely reaching a deal and in the case of a no-deal situation.

 

HEALTHCARE

One of the most important issues for Expats in Malta remains the question of Healthcare in Malta

As a legal Malta resident who pays social security contributions you and your family will continue receiving free healthcare services just like everyone else who is legally employed. In addition you can also apply for Malta’s European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Should you not qualify for health care coverage, it gets a bit more complicated. You can still apply for a Reciprocal Health Agreement Card plus register at a local health care centre to book doctor’s appointments, but you will not benefit from long-term care or treatment outside of Malta. Should you be the recipient of a UK State Pension, you will have to ask for an S1 Certificate from the Overseas Healthcare Service.

IN THE CASE OF A BREXIT DEAL AGREEMENT:

  • Your rights to healthcare access will not change up to the end of the implementation period as long as you additionally remain legally resident in Malta.

IN THE CASE OF A BREXIT NO-DEAL AGREEMENT:

  • If you are a legal resident living in Malta on or before 31 December 2020, you will be protected under Malta’s no-deal legislation with access to healthcare as you currently know it, with access through the S1 form also included.

UK EXPAT REGISTRATION IN MALTA AS A RESIDENT

No visa is required by UK Nationals to visit Malta, but if you are intending to live here during the transition period, you have to submit an application for residency to ID Malta before 30 June 2021.

Should a UK National arrive after 31 December 2020 and decide to live permanently in Malta, they will be expected to submit their application within 90 days of their arrival date in the country.

IN THE CASE OF A BREXIT DEAL AGREEMENT:

  • UK National’s rights are fully recognised if legally resident in Malta prior to the end of the implementation period, this being 31 December 2020
  • Access to free healthcare
  • Access to Social benefits
  • Have the right to work in Malta

IN THE CASE OF A BREXIT NO-DEAL AGREEMENT:

  • A NON-EU residency permit will be required within 90 days of your arrival in the country
  • During this time your rights will be respected
  • A new, free residence permit that is valid for ten years will be issued to UK Nationals
  • This permit is renewable

THE RIGHT TO WORK IN MALTA

As one of the most essential means of living anywhere in the world, earning an income is crucial, so make sure you are 100 % prepared and vetted for legal employment in Malta.

IN THE CASE OF A BREXIT DEAL AGREEMENT:

  • Should you be a registered resident living in Malta, your full rights to work will continue until the end of the implementation period

IN THE CASE OF A BREXIT NO-DEAL AGREEMENT:

  • You will be able to continue working in Malta without a Visa or license as long as you have the new NON-EU Residency Permit, but if you plan to open a business, provide a service or work in a regulated field, specific rules will now apply.

 

YOUR PENSION AND TAXATION AS AN EXPAT

As with many other countries, Malta and the UK have a double taxation agreement: this means you will not pay tax twice on the same income. As before, Brexit will not affect your State Pension payment in the EU as payable by the UK Government.

IN THE CASE OF A BREXIT DEAL AGREEMENT:

  • If you are employed and contribute towards social security in Malta, as before you can add any previous UK contributions towards a pension in Malta and will be valid even if you retire after the implementation period has ended.

IN THE CASE OF A BREXIT NO-DEAL AGREEMENT:

  • Malta will acknowledge contributions towards pension made in the UK before Brexit.

YOUR BENEFITS

Even after Brexit the UK Government will carry on paying disability and child benefits to eligible persons living in the EU.

IN THE CASE OF A BREXIT DEAL AGREEMENT:

  • Again, if you are employed and contribute towards social security in Malta, any contributions made in the UK will be considered when you apply for any benefits based on contributions in Malta. This will apply to any claims even after the end of the implementation period.

IN THE CASE OF A BREXIT NO-DEAL AGREEMENT:

  • Malta will take into account any contributions made during periods of work in the UK even after the implementation period has ended.

 TRAVEL IN THE EU

Prior to embarking on any travels, ensure your passport and that of your family is valid.

IN THE CASE OF A BREXIT DEAL AGREEMENT:

  • You will be able to travel up to the end of 2020 within the Schengen area as before.

IN THE CASE OF A BREXIT NO-DEAL AGREEMENT:

  • You will have to have at least 6 months left on any passport to be eligible for travel to most EU destinations excluding Ireland. In the case of an early renewal of a current passport, extra months left will be taken into consideration unless older than 10 years. In this event it will not count towards the 6 months required.

DRIVING

Rules will say the same until 31 December 2020, where after you have to exchange your driver’s  license for a Maltese one. As a resident in Malta you will not be allowed to renew a stolen, lost or even expired driver’s licence with the UK’s DVLA. Make sure that you exchange your UK licence for a Maltese one before the expiry of the UK one.

PETS

The travel rules for pets will only stay as is until 31 December 2020. Thereafter you will need to get a pet passport from your veterinarian.

BUYING MALTA PROPERTY

If you wish to reside in Malta and want to buy a property, a minimum purchase price value will apply and you will also have to apply for an AIP permit if the property is not situated within one of the Special Designated Areas.
For the full set of descriptions and rules please visit: www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-malta/

 

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