Health authorities are in contact with Identity Malta in order to ensure that foreign nationals residing in Malta who have applied for a residence card but are yet to receive it, are able to register to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Malta has had a very successful vaccine rollout so far, with the vast majority of the population jumping at the opportunity to get vaccinated. But while the system has proved to be very easy to access for locals, this hasn’t been the case for some EU nationals living in Malta.
Foreign readers have gotten in touch with Lovin Malta to voice their frustration at not being able to register to receive the vaccine, despite living and working here in Malta, in some cases for a number of years.
Malta’s vaccine programme is open to all Maltese nationals and foreign nationals in possession of a valid residence card.
Some readers argued that the fact that they lived and paid taxes here in Malta should make be enough for them to eligible for the vaccine, irrespective of whether they are in possession of a residence card.
Others have pointed out that they had already applied for a residence card but had been waiting weeks for the process to be completed, with no indication as to when this will happen.
It is in fact not uncommon for expats to report having to wait weeks, often months, for the process of applying for a residence card to be completed.
This has left some in vaccine limbo since they are eligible for, and would like to receive the vaccine, but have no idea when they will be able to do so because their residence application appears to be stuck at Identity Malta.
Malta recently started the vaccination of those aged thirty and over, an age bracket that likely includes the largest percentage of foreign nationals, including many from within the EU who might have moved to Malta in recent years but never bothered applying for a residence card.
Lovin Malta asked the Health Ministry whether anything was being done to cater to such individuals, especially when considering that any foreign residents living in Malta would also need to be vaccinated in order for Malta to reach the desired herd immunity.
The ministry reiterated that the registration system being used by Malta “necessitates that applicants include the unique identification number found on ID cards, both for Maltese citizens and residence-card holders”
It added that health authorities were “in contact with Identity Malta with regards to individuals who have satisfied Malta’s residence requirements and are waiting to receive their residence card”.
Despite this, readers have said that the only reply they had received when informing health authorities about their situation was that “that was the law”, with few solutions offered, even in cases where a residency application had already been submitted.
Sources familiar with Malta’s vaccination roll-out pointed out to Lovin Malta that it was reasonable to expect eligibility criteria in order to receive a vaccine, after all, this was the case in all countries.
They also confirmed that in some cases, where individuals had submitted an application and were simply waiting to receive their card, the ministry had intervened after checking with Identity Malta that an application had in fact been submitted and that it had met the criteria to be granted residency.
It would however appear that this has happened on an ad-hoc basis and with no formalised system in place.
Roughly 100,000 foreign nationals live in Malta, the vast majority of whom are EU citizens who have a right to live and work in Malta, or any other EU member state.
While it isn’t legally mandatory for one to register as a resident, it is advisable to do so particularly because of situations such as this.
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