Expat UK citizens could lose their rights

Malta Expats | Brexit

In the event of a Brexit 11 000 Brits in Malta are affected

There are 11 000 British persons living in Malta. They live in Malta and they enjoy all the rights and freedoms any other EU-member state citizens enjoy here. But not for much longer if there is a Brexit. As ECFR puts it, if Britain leaves the EU, citizens will lose automatic access to the labour market.

Malta Expats | Brexit
Source: IPPR, “Brits abroad: Mapping the scale and nature of British emigration”


According to Ecfr.eu (European Counsil of Foreign Affairs) the freedom Brits so far have enjoyed when living abroad will change drastically unless Britain joins either EAA or EFTA instead.
However, should Britain just exit the EU and not, for example, join EAA or EFTA, it will be impossible to work in Malta without a visa. Brits will have to abide by the same rules all the non-European Union citizens and non-EAA citizens have to abide by and that’s rather restrictive. The way things are now, non-EAA citizens must have residency and work permits in all EU member states.

It means that to receive the EU blue card, the official EU-wide permit, non EEA nationals have to provide a work contract with specific requirements attached as well as other documents.

The solution would be EAA or EFTA

Whereas, ‘if Britain joins the European Economic Area (EAA), as did Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway; or the European Free Trade Area (EFTA), which also includes Switzerland, the damage might be limited because most of the conditions for EEA/EFTA citizens are the same as for EU citizens’, as stated by ECFR.
Competing with locals on the job market

If Britain does not join EAA or EFTA, an EU-country like Malta who now permits the Brit to work with automatic access, can’t permit it after a Brexit. It must be proven that no Maltese person applied and was denied the job. It must be proven that the Brit, in fact, is the only one who can perform the job without taking a possible job opportunity from somebody else.
In other words, the employer must show that there is no suitable candidate in the entire EU/EAA before it can hire somebody from outside.

Affects around 5 000 Brits in Malta

Even if more than 4 500 of the 11 000 British individuals living in Malta are pensioners, the possible labour market changes still affect many of them. In comparison, more than a million Brits are resident in Spain, and of those only 9% are pensioners. That means, many of the Brits in Spain are actually working and will be affected.

Malta Expats | Brexit
Source: IPPR


The total number of British-born citizens of working age residing in EU countries is higher than 512 000 and that figure excludes 9 countries including Malta, according to information provided by the Ecfr.eu publication.

You can find the detailed report here