By Mr. Mark Sultana – International Private Clients Consultant
As it stands today, Part Two of the Immigration Act (Chapter 217 of the Laws of Malta) lays down a list of persons who are exempted from certain important provisions under the Immigration law. To mention a few a person who acquires the status of an exempt person, is exempted from requesting a single work permit to work in Malta. He is also exempted from requesting a residence permit in Malta and is also exempted from seeking permission to enter Malta. In other words, unless the Minister responsible from Immigration orders otherwise, the provisions which are related to prohibited immigrants are not applicable to the list of persons under Part Two of the Immigration Act.
The general assumption is that a citizen of Malta is considered as an exempt person but according to Article 4 of the Immigration Act, the exempt person status is also extended to persons who enjoys certain immunities and privileges by virtue of their diplomatic or consular post. Hence their presence in Malta is regulated by the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act – Chapter 91 of the Laws of Malta.
Furthermore, according to Article 4, an exempt person status could be bestowed upon that person who is a member of the military forces of a nation other than Malta and his presence in Malta forms part of an agreement with the government of Malta or is in Malta at the government’s invitation to serve in an advise or consultative capacity.
Besides the above-mentioned categories of persons, Article 4 also grants the exempt person status to spouses of the above-mentioned persons who are still married to and living together and also to the widow or widower of a Maltese citizen, who at the time of his death the surviving spouse was still living with a Maltese citizen.
Article 4, however, does not limit the exempt person status to the above-mentioned category of persons. Interesting to note is the fact that Article 4 (1) (f) of the Immigration Act is also being extended to the dependents of the above-mentioned category of persons. This means that according to the legislator a dependent is not only the children up to the age of 21 but also includes the adopted children and the parents or grandparents of Maltese citizens who are fully maintained by that Maltese citizen. In other words, if a third country national who is the parent or grandparent of a Maltese citizen and s/he is fully dependent of the Maltese citizen, the parent or grandparent is considered to have exempt person status and can enter Malta given the fact that s/he is the dependent of a Maltese citizen.
From a reading of Article 4, it is to be understood that once a person acquires the status of exempt person, such status is not reversible. Article 4 (2) clarifies this matter and states that the Minister responsible for immigration may, by means of an Order, declare that the holder of such status is no longer an exempt person. However, the minister does not have the faculty to revoke without just cause but such revocation should only be made if he is satisfied that the grant of such an exemption to such person is no longer in the public interest.