June 24th 2016 will go down in history as the day the majority of British citizens voted to Leave the European Union. This means that a two year process of negotiation between the UK and the EU is likely to unfold to determine the UK's relationship with the EU. In the words of Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Malta has lost an important ally, however Malta is prepared for this new reality of having a European Union without Britain. Britain's exit from the EU has several consequences both on UK expats living in Malta, as well on those Maltese citizens living in the UK.
Maltese Citizens resident in the UK
It is estimated that there are approximately 27,000 Maltese citizens living and working in the UK, out of which around 1,025 are students. No initial impact is expected in the first years of negotiation between the EU and the UK, however it is anticipated that tuition fees for third country nationals would double. Maltese students might be affected by this, however the Maltese Government will seek a bilateral agreement between the two countries, unless an EU deal is struck to safeguard the interest of third country national students. Those Maltese nationals who are currently receiving treatment in the UK are safeguarded due to the 1956 bilateral Social Security and Health Agreements.
Maltese Citizens continue to enjoy rights in the UK
Maltese citizens by birth or by investment continue to enjoy the benefits of EU citizenship and their entitlement to live, work, study, invest, do business and retire in all countries of the EU including the UK. Besides the affinity with the UK under EU membership, Malta enjoys a longer-standing relationship as an ex-colony of the UK as well as a Commonwealth member. Maltese citizens continue to enjoy the right to take up residency in the UK under the current EU freedoms that remain effective until the conclusion of a full exit that will inevitably take years to complete and fully implement.
Opportunities for Malta & Maltese Citizenship
BBC Political Editor speaks to our Managing Partner Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti on the effects of Brexit on UK Expats in Malta. "Malta is sad to see the UK leave the European Union, to which it has contributed significantly throughout the years and no doubt, the UK will not be able to shape the future of Europe in the same way it has done in the last decades." On opportunities created, Dr Chetcuti stated that a number of multinational companies headquartered in London have been formulating Brexit strategies with Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates using Malta as an alternative jurisdiction within the European Union. Malta ticks the right boxes: a respected EU member state, with English as its official language, with a Mediterranean quality of life and a British educational system and work ethic.
BBC Brexit Interview in Malta of our Managing Partner Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti on the effects of an exit of the UK from the European Union. (fast-forward to 2.55 in the recording)
Malta in the Commonwealth
Malta has recently hosted the second Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). Malta not only forms part of the Commonwealth organisation but i also currently holds the presidency of the Commonwealth. UK-Malta-Commonwealth links will continue to apply, including any affiliation between the UK and Maltese Foundation Programmes.
Malta and the UK continue to exchange reciprocal benefits in the areas of health benefits, social security, cooperation and mutual support. Malta and the UK still enjoy the old 1956 bilateral Social Security and Health Agreements.