UK nationals will continue enjoying their EU residency rights once their home country leaves the bloc in a few days, as long as they do not become a burden on the national social assistance system, the government said.

There are no resource benchmarks for their relatives, but they do need sickness insurance coverage. 

Brexit was originally due to happen on March 29 of last year, but the deadline was delayed twice after MPs rejected then Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal between the UK and the EU.

Britain is now set to leave the EU on Friday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s deal was backed by MPs. 

Several British residents have been asking whether UK nationals in Malta will now automatically be considered third country nationals.

A Home Affairs Ministry spokesperson told Times of Malta that with the Withdrawal Agreement entering into force on February 1, UK nationals and their family members who are in Malta based on their right to freedom of movement would be subject to the same rights and obligations as EU nationals.

This also applies to UK nationals who move to Malta during this year’s transition period. As things stand, this is between February 1 and December 31, with the possibility of this period being extended by a further one or two years if there is an agreement between the EU and the UK.

UK nationals and their family members who are in Malta would be subject to the same rights and obligations as EU nationals

British residents will be covered by these EU rights and obligations “indefinitely and throughout their life provided they continue to satisfy the relative conditions”, the spokesperson added.

She pointed out that this agreement refers to the provisions of an EU directive through which there are no resource benchmarks concerning family members who are accompanying or joining the main sponsor in the case of workers or self-employed EU citizens.

However, economically self-sufficient people, including pensioners, and their relatives must be covered by sickness insurance and should not become a burden on the national social assistance system of Malta.

“The rights they will lose after the transition are the right to vote in EP elections and the right for further free movement, that is, to move to another member state with the same rights there.

“This applies to both those in Malta before the transition as well as those moving here during the transition,” the spokesperson noted.

What about UK nationals who move here after the transition period?

In such cases, the government will issue residence documents valid for 10 years.

However, the conditions of residence for these people will depend on the national rules or any other conditions the EU and the UK agree upon eventually.

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