UK ap­pli­ca­tions for Mal­tese cit­i­zen­ship have dou­bled since Brexit ref­er­en­dum

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Ju­lian Bon­nici

Bri­tons ap­ply­ing for Mal­tese cit­i­zen­ship have dou­bled since the Brexit ref­er­en­dum in June 2016, fig­ures pro­vided to The Malta In­de­pen­dent by the Min­istry for Jus­tice, Cul­ture, and Lo­cal Govern­ment have re­vealed.

In 2016, the govern­ment re­ceived a to­tal of 424 ap­pli­ca­tions (35 per month), a suf­fi­cient in­crease from the 204 (17 per month) and 152 (12 per month) ap­pli­ca­tions re­ceived in 2015 and 2014 re­spec­tively.

The up­com­ing year is also ex­pected to see an in­crease in ap­pli­ca­tions, with Iden­tity Malta re­ceiv­ing 133 in the first three months of 2017 (57,34 and 42).

A spokesper­son for the min­istry in­formed this news­room that there are var­i­ous grounds on which in­di­vid­u­als can claim Mal­tese cit­i­zen­ship.

The most com­monly used grounds are de­scent, which is where ap­pli­cants prove that two con­sec­u­tive gen­er­a­tions of as­cen­dants in the di­rect line were born in Malta; mar­riage, when ap­pli­cants would have been mar­ried to a Mal­tese cit­i­zen for at least five years; and res­i­dence which is when in­di­vid­u­als ap­ply for nat­u­ral­iza­tion un­der ar­ti­cle 10(1) of the Mal­tese Cit­i­zen­ship Act.

The in­crease in the num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions has also had a di­rect re­la­tion with the amount of ap­pli­ca­tions that have been ap­proved.

The cit­i­zen­ship unit at Iden­tity Malta ap­proved 181 ap­pli­ca­tions in 2016, com­pared to 84 in 2015, and 135 in 2014.

There have been 57 ap­pli­ca­tions ap­proved this year.

The sud­den in­crease in in­ter­est in Mal­tese cit­i­zen­ship is un­doubt­edly the re­sult of the Bri­tish pub­lic’s de­ci­sion to leave in the EU in June 2016, with the num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions prac­ti­cally dou­bling the fol­low­ing July; 29 in June and 52 in July.

The re­sult was sep­a­rated by a 3.78% mar­gin, mean­ing that there was a dif­fer­ence of roughly 1.2 mil­lion peo­ple in the 33 mil­lion strong vot­ing pop­u­la­tion.

For a num­ber of Bri­tish cit­i­zens, par­tic­u­larly those who voted to re­main, there are sev­eral im­pli­ca­tions to leav­ing the European Union. By sur­ren­der­ing their EU cit­i­zen­ship, Bri­tish na­tion­als will no longer be able to en­joy their right to free­dom of move­ment within the EU, or the right to re­side and find em­ploy­ment in any mem­ber state.

They will also lose their right to equal treat­ment; so­cial and tax ad­van­tages by leav­ing the EU.

As EU cit­i­zens, in­di­vid­u­als also have the right to med­i­cal treat­ment in an­other EU coun­try on the same terms and cost as peo­ple liv­ing in that coun­try.

Be­yond Malta’s ac­cess to the EU and its eco­nomic suc­cess, it is easy to see why Malta ap­peals to a num­ber of Bri­tish cit­i­zens. The weather of course, but the coun­try’s colo­nial his­tory means that peo­ple drive on the same side of the road, speak English, and have the same se­ri­ous prob­lem with obe­sity.

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