UK applications for Maltese citizenship have doubled since Brexit referendum
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.