Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship and Communities Alex Muscat and United Kingdom High Commissioner Cathy Ward have encouraged UK citizens in Malta to register for their new residence status.
Parliamentary Secretary Muscat stated that Malta has long-standing historical ties with the United Kingdom. The excellent relations that exist between Malta and the United Kingdom are not limited to the political and economic spheres. “The Maltese Government is committed to maintaining such strong relations. This is in fact because Malta is at the forefront of providing reassurance to British citizens residing here who will continue to do so even after BREXIT,” Mr Muscat emphasised.
“It was a real honour to have the Migration Policy Institute not only recognize the efforts made by the Maltese authorities in preparation for BREXIT but also praised Malta as the model for other European countries,” said parliamentary secretary.
According to the information gathered, the number of British citizens residing in Malta, for various reasons, including studying and working, amounts to almost 14,000.
In the months leading up to February this year, Identity Malta launched an exercise to gather information regarding all British citizens living in Malta. This exercise was carried out in collaboration with the United Kingdom High Commission in preparation for the eventual exit of the United Kingdom from the EU. The intention has always been to provide a smooth transition for all British citizens living in Malta once Brexit takes place.
In previous weeks, Identity Malta has also organized an information campaign on its social media platform and distributed leaflets to inform potential beneficiaries about their rights and the application process involved.
Malta will issue a 10-year residence permit to UK citizens currently living in our country which will allow them to continue residing, working and studying in Malta. This means that after 31 December 2020, UK citizens resident in Malta can continue to do so and may move freely abroad as provided for in the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement and national laws. The same rights are also extended to their family members, provided that the main beneficiary has entered into a relationship.
In respect of UK citizens who arrived in Malta during the transition period or who will arrive by 31 December 2020, they need to apply for their new residence document after three months from their arrival on or before 31 June 2021, whichever is the later.
Parliamentary Secretary Muscat stated that the Government of Malta will keep its promise to the citizens of the United Kingdom who arrive after 1 January 2021 that they will be issued a 10-year residence permit despite having the need to obtain a permit to live, work or study in Malta.
The British High Commissioner Cathy Ward praised the staff of the Identity Malta Agency. Ms Ward reiterated that, “Registration for a new residence card is important in the future so that UK citizens can reside in Malta. It will protect your rights to continue residing, working and studying in Malta. I urge all those UK citizens who have not yet registered to do so as soon as possible. “
Over the past months, Identity Malta has been responsible for implementing the provisions related to Citizens’ Rights as described in the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement. The Agency immediately reached all potential UK beneficiaries in Malta and started accepting new residency applications as early as February 2020. Thus, our country is the first country from the EU member states to start accepting these the applications. In addition, Identity Malta organized an information campaign and worked closely with the High Commission for the United Kingdom in Malta to facilitate the process.
The new residence document, which is a very secure card as established by EU regulations, is being issued first to those applicants whose existing residence document has expired, as soon as the rest of the papers will be issued early next year. Meanwhile, existing cards in circulation will remain valid.
So far there have been more than 6,600 potential UK beneficiaries who have applied for their new residence document – almost 50% of those eligible to apply. In the coming weeks, Identity Malta will continue to assist UK beneficiaries as appropriate.
The application process to change residence status was broken down by location, with the first call closed last week. Applicants who for one reason or another have failed to go to their appointment on the dates indicated may still apply until 30 June 2021 during normal office hours.