Source: Times of Malta
By: Sarah Carabott
With no deal yet in sight, businesses urged to prepare for all scenarios
With 50 days until Brexit and no deal in sight yet, the Maltese government is urging UK nationals to register for a 10-year residency card.
Similarly, irrespective of how long they have been living in the UK, Maltese people should register their residency before the end of the year.
Answering questions following the launch of an information document about the Brexit transition period, Parliamentary Secretary Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi said UK nationals had until June 2021 to apply for a residency card.
Anyone who applied for residency did not need to apply for a work permit.
So far, “a good number” of the 13,000 UK nationals applied for a residency in Malta, he said.
Some 5,580 Maltese people have meanwhile applied to regularise their residency in the UK through the EU Settlement Scheme.
Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo urged people to prepare for all possible scenarios, especially considering that Brexit will impact all sectors.
He said Malta has always called for a close relationship between the UK and the EU, however, this also depended on the British government.
The minister added that the Maltese government was still holding discussions with the UK about issues that fall outside of the EU’s remit, such as specialised medical treatment and training for medical professionals.
Hold discussions with UK counterparts
Addressing the same conference, Chamber of Commerce president David Xuereb said discussions between the UK and the EU were geared towards some sort of agreement.
“We are cautiously optimistic, however, we know that by the end of the year there might be a no-deal exit. There is nothing better to prepare yourself than to remain continuously updated,” he said, urging people to read the information document and to participate in upcoming information sessions.
He also warned businesses that they could not afford to waste more time, so, unless they have already done so, they should hold discussions with their counterparts in the UK as soon as possible.
Regardless of the results of the future partnership negotiations, the UK will leave the EU customs union and single market by the end of the year, so imported, exported and transiting good will be subject to new customs and regulatory procedures.
Meanwhile, in terms of passenger traffic, customs will have to deal with 12 additional inbound and another 12 outbound flights with 160 passengers each, every day, and an increase in the monitoring of accompanied cargo brought through these flights.
More information can be found in the document attached below, or on helpline 153.
If you are a UK resident in Malta on or before December 31, you will be able to stay. You will need to obtain a new residency card by the end of June 2021, in line with the withdrawal agreement.
If you have been living in Malta for three months or more and have not yet registered for residency, or if your residence document has expired, you should contact Identity Malta on firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have previously registered for residency, you will receive a letter from Identity Malta by the end of this year about your new card. The letter will tell you when and where to go to apply for it, as well as what documents you will need to take with you. The first call for applications will soon be coming to an end.
If you work in Malta and make social security contributions, you can be issued with a Maltese European Health Insurance Card for use across the EU. As long as you are legally resident in Malta before December 31, you will be able to use your Malta-issued EHIC when you visit the UK before and after the transition period.
If you don’t qualify for healthcare cover through your national security contributions, you should check if you are eligible to apply for the Maltese Reciprocal Agreement Malta/UK Entitlement Card. This card allows you to register at your nearest health centre on the Maltese government website and make GP appointments.
Cardholders are not entitled to long-term care and treatment outside Malta and are not eligible for a Maltese EHIC.
If you are resident in Malta on or before the end of this year, your right to work or study will not change, as long as you remain resident in Malta. Eligibility for financial support requires a minimum of five years of residency in Malta.
Driving licence rules will stay the same until the end of the year. If you are resident in Malta, you should exchange your UK licence for a Maltese one by completing Transport Malta’s DRV30 form. If you are resident in Malta, you will not be able to renew a lost, stolen or expired licence with the UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. You should therefore exchange your licence for a Maltese one before your UK licence expires.
Customs processes for UK imports and exports
From January 1, all goods imported into Malta from the UK or exported from Malta to the UK will be subject to customs processes. The critical first step is to register for an economic operators registration identification number. Certain businesses may wish to consider becoming an authorised economic operator – this authorisation recognises reliable operators as ‘trusted traders’ and can offer various benefits.
Import Duties (Customs Duty, VAT and Excise)
VAT will be chargeable on goods imported into Malta from the UK while exporters must be able to prove that the goods left the union to apply the zero rate of VAT applicable to exports. If a business uses any EU VAT simplifications such as triangulation or self-billing, these will no longer be available where part of the transaction occurs in the UK.
Similarly, the European VAT refund system will no longer be available to reclaim VAT expended or refund VAT charged in the UK. Similar to the current scenario, excise duty will be incurred when excisable goods such as alcoholic beverages or tobacco are imported into the EU from the UK, once the UK becomes a third country at the end of the transition period. As a third country, a duty-free and VAT refund scheme may also operate between Malta and the UK.