Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship and Communities Alex Muscat and the British High Commissioner Cathy Ward urged UK citizens in Malta to register for their new residency status.
Parliamentary Secretary Muscat stated that Malta boasts long-standing historic ties with the UK. The excellent relations that exist between Malta and the United Kingdom are not limited solely to the political and economic spheres. “The Maltese Government is committed to strongly maintain such relations. This is in fact why Malta is at the forefront in providing reassurance, that British nationals residing here will continue to do so even after BREXIT,” emphasised Mr Muscat.
“It was indeed an honour to have the Migration Policy Institute to not only recognise the efforts carried out by the Maltese authorities in preparation for BREXIT but also commended Malta as being the role-model for other European countries to follow,” said the parliamentary secretary.
From the data collected, the total number of British nationals residing in Malta, for a number of reasons including studying and working, amount to almost 14,000.
In the months preceding February of this year, Identity Malta embarked on an exercise to gather information to all British nationals who reside in Malta. This exercise was done in collaboration with the British High Commission, in preparation to the eventual exit of the UK from the EU. The intention has always been to provide a seamless transition for all British nationals who reside in Malta once Brexit occurs.
In the preceding weeks, Identity Malta also held an informative campaign on its social media platform and distributed pamphlets to inform potential beneficiaries of their rights and the application process entailed.
Malta will be issuing a 10-year residence permit to UK citizens currently residing in Malta which will allow them to continue to reside, work, and study in Malta. This means that following 31st December 2020, UK citizens residing in Malta shall continue to do so and can move freely in and out of the country as stipulated in the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement and national laws.
Such rights will also be extended to their family members, provided that the main beneficiary has been in a relationship before 31st December 2020.
As for those who have already arrived in Malta or will be very soon arriving as from the 31st December 2020, they would then need to apply for a new residency document after 3 months of their arrival date in Malta or before the 31st of June 2021.
Parliamentary Secretary Muscat held that the Government of Malta will keep its promise with UK citizens arriving after 1st January 2021 who will be issued with a 10-year residency permit, notwithstanding that they would need to obtain permission to reside, work or study in Malta.
British High Commissioner Cathy Ward paid tribute to the staff at Identity Malta adding that, “Registering for your new residency card is the single most important thing that UK nationals can do. It will protect your rights to continue to live, work and study in Malta. I urge all those UK nationals who have not yet registered to do so as soon as possible”.
Over the past months, Identity Malta was responsible for the implementation of the provisions related to citizens’ rights as outlined in the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement. Following BREXIT day, the Agency immediately reached out to all potential UK beneficiaries in Malta and started accepting new residency applications as early as February 2020, making Malta the first country from the EU member states to start accepting such applications. Moreover, Identity Malta organised an informative campaign and worked closely with the British High Commission in Malta to facilitate the process.
The new residency document, which is a highly secure card printed in a harmonized format established by EU regulations, is being issued first to those applicants whose existing residence document has expired. Whereas the rest of the cards will be issued early next year. In the meantime, existing cards in circulation will remain valid.
So far there were more than 6,600 potential UK beneficiaries who have applied for their new residency document – that is almost 50% of those eligible to apply. In the coming weeks Identity Malta Agency will continue to assist UK beneficiaries accordingly.
The application process of changing one’s status was staggered by locality, with the first call closing last week. Applicants who for some reason or another have failed to turn up for their appointment on the indicated dates can still apply by 30th June 2021 during normal office hours.