Council Directive 2003/109/EC and 2011/51/EU pertain to the status of third-country nationals (TCNs) who wish to become long-term residents of Malta. They determine:
- the terms for conferring and withdrawing long-term resident status granted in relation to TCNs legally residing in Malta and their rights; and
- the terms of residence in Malta of a TCN who was conferred the status of long-term resident in another Member State.
Applicability of these Regulations
These provisions apply to TCNs who reside legally in Malta with the exception of those who reside in Malta:
- In order to pursue studies or vocational training;
- On the basis of temporary protection in line with the Temporary Protection for Displaced Persons (Minimum Standards) Regulations or have applied for authorization to reside on such basis;
- On the basis of a form of protection (other than international protection), or who have applied for authorization to reside on that basis and are awaiting a decision on their status;
- Who have applied for international protection and whose application has not yet given rise to a final decision;
- Solely on temporal grounds such as au pair or seasonal workers;
- Who are enjoying legal status governed by international conventions on diplomatic and consular relations.
Duration of Residence
The Director grants long-term residence to those who have resided legally and continuously in Malta for 5 years immediately prior to the submission of the application. This application should be submitted in writing to the Director. When applying, the TCN must provide evidence that he:
- Has stable and regular resources which have subsisted for a continuous period of two years immediately prior to the date of application, declared with the pertinent tax authorities in Malta, which are sufficient to maintain himself and the members of his family without recourse to the social assistance system in Malta or to any benefits or assistance of any type payable under the Social Security Act, the Housing Authority Act or any other law providing assistance of a social nature;
- Has appropriate accommodation meeting the appropriate standards and regarded as normal for a comparable family in Malta;
- A valid travel document;
- Sickness insurance in respect of all risks normally covered for Maltese nationals for himself and for the members of his family.
The Director may refuse to grant an application for long-term resident status made by a third country national on grounds of public policy or public security. The Director must in any case notify the applicant of his decision as soon as possible.
Article 8 emphasises that the status of long-term resident will be permanent. However, article 9 goes on by saying that the long-term residence may be lost in the following cases:
- The status is acquired through fraudulent means
- If the Principal Immigration Officer has ordered his removal
- If the long-term resident has been absent from the territory of the EU for a period of 12 consecutive months
- If the long-term resident has acquired the long-term resident status in another Member State
- If the long-term resident is absent for six years from Malta and is residing in another Member State
- If he constitutes a threat to public policy, taking into consideration the seriousness of the offence he committed
Though a TCN enjoys equal treatment as that of a Maltese national when granted long-term residence, such TCN may be expelled from Malta through a removal order issued by the Principal Immigration officer when he constitutes a serious threat to the public policy or security of Malta.
Residence in Malta of TCNs granted Long-Term Resident Status in another European Member State
A TCN may reside in Malta for a period of three months; if one exercises economic activity in an employed or self-employed capacity, for the purpose of vocational training or studies, or for other purposes. Such a TCN must apply to the Director for a residence permit as soon as possible (not later than three months upon entering Malta).
Where the long-term resident applies for a permit to reside in Malta, only the spouse (21 years of age or over) and the children of the long-term resident or of his spouse (whose custody is shared) is authorized to join him in Malta.
The aforementioned grounds of refusal by the Director to grant long-term resident status made by a TCN, apply for TCNs who want to reside in Malta while having been granted a long-term residence status in another member state.