• Insights

Brexit and Malta: the new rules for UK nationals

Written by
Ganado Advocates, Malta's leading commercial and corporate law firm.
From 1 January 2021 new rules apply for UK nationals wishing to live and work in Malta.


1.1 Has any guidance been issued on how UK nationals can obtain settled residence status and permission to work from 1 January 2021 and what proof of residence is needed for current residents to maintain their status?


The guidelines published by the Identity Malta Agency provide that UK nationals, who resided or will be residing in Malta on the basis of their Treaty rights as EU nationals prior to or on the last day of the transition period (1 February 2020 and 31 December 2020) are entitled to continue to reside in Malta and move freely in and out of the country, as well as benefiting from other associated rights, as specified in the Withdrawal Agreement (WA). These rights also extend to family members who fall under the provisions of the WA. However, family members, other than children, will only be covered by the provisions of the WA if the relationship commenced before the end of the transition period.

The guidelines also provide that UK nationals settling in Malta during the transition period (between 1 February 2020 and 31 December 2020) may apply for their new residence status after three months from their arrival in Malta and before 30 June 2021.

According to the same guidelines issued by the Identity Malta Agency, UK nationals and their family members who were not residing in Malta prior to the withdrawal date but arrive in the country by 31 December 2020 will also benefit from the rights provided for in the WA. Applicants (family members connected to UK nationals already residing in Malta) who have the right to commence residence after 31 December 2020 must submit their application either within three months of their arrival in Malta or before 30 June 2021, whichever is later.

The Chief Executive Officer of Identity Malta Agency has the power to issue a residence document valid for a period of ten years if:

  • The person  qualifies under  the  conditions stipulated in Part Two of the Agreement.


The person submits the application before 30  June  2021  if  s/he  is  residing  in  Malta  during  the transition period (1 February 2020 and 31 December 2020)  or, for individuals who have the right to commence residence after the end of the transition period in accordance with the WA, the person submits the application within three months after their arrival or from 30 June 2021, whichever is latest, according to our understanding of the current guidelines.



2.1 Do UK employees need a business visa from 1 January 2021?   No.

Regulation (EU) 2019/592 of 10 April 2019 exempts UK citizens from the requirement for a Schengen visa. It applies from the day the UK is no longer subject to EU law. UK citizens can enter and stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days in any rolling 180-days period.

The Schengen exemption applies from 1 January 2021.

However, individuals wishing to work and reside in Malta may need to obtain a single permit as matters stand today.

2.2 What documents are needed on arrival for business travel from 1 January 2021?       

The passport should be valid with at least six months left on an adult or child passport to travel

At the border the individual may be asked to:

  • show a return ticket;
  • show s/he has enough money to stay.


2.3 Do UK nationals need additional permission to work for business travel from 1 January 2021?        




3.1 Do UK nationals need permission to work and stay in Malta from 1 January 2021? 


As things currently stand, if individuals would like to work in Malta, they would need to obtain a permit under the single permit or key employee initiative procedures.

3.2 If permission to work is needed after 1 January 2021, do any quotas apply to the employment of third-country nationals? 

No quotas are in place, however according to the Guidelines issues by Jobsplus Agency, employers are responsible for providing substantial evidence of efforts made to try and fill in any vacant posts primarily with Maltese / EEA / Swiss nationals and/or third-country nationals who have an inherent right to work in Malta.

To fulfil the vacancy requirement as part of the Labour Market test, the employer is required to advertise the job in the appropriate media or with the appropriate competent authority. Proof of this advertisement must be presented to JobsPlus together with the single permit application. Advertisements posted six months prior to the date of application are not accepted. Applications submitted without the necessary evidence of efforts made will not be acceptable. In addition, applications for third-country nationals are not generally accepted by JobsPlus Agency  if the company does not already have other local or EU nationals on its employment register.

3.3 If permission to work is needed from 1 January 2021, what categories of permission are commonly granted?         

Based on our experience the most common  categories are:

  • highly skilled management/technical/financial/gaming/accounting employees: annual remuneration of at least EUR 30,000 gross (2020);
  • professions related to the medical and caring fields (such as nurses and carers);
  • profiles that pass the labour market test.


3.4 If permission to work or stay is needed from 1 January 2021, how long does the procedure take?    

The procedure usually takes around a month under the Key Employee Initiate scheme, and  a period of three months under the single permit scheme.

3.5 If permission to work and stay is needed from 1 January 2021, what Government fees are payable?

EUR 280.50 per application



4.1 What formalities apply to UK frontier workers working in Malta but living in another country from 1 January 2021?

No rules have been issued on this matter and to date a work permit may be required if the employee is  working  in Malta.



5.1 From what date are third-country nationals entitled to apply for permanent residence?        

The Director of citizenship and expatriate affairs will grant long-term resident status to third-country nationals who have resided legally and continuously in Malta after a minimum period of five years and who submit an application. This application must include,  among other information, evidence of integration measures, specifically:

  • confirmation of at least 100 hours of attendance on a course provided by the Directorate for Human rights and Integration and the achievement of an examination pass mark of at least 75%;
  • a pass mark of at least 65% in MQF Level 2 Maltese language certificate;
  • documentation showing that the relevant course fees have been paid.



6.1 What steps could UK nationals take currently to secure their residence and work status?      

Please see question 1.


Lara Pace
Associate - Malta
Ganado Advocates
Matthew Brincat
Partner - Malta
Ganado Advocates