On 29 January 2021, Legal Notice 29 of 2021 was published amending the Highly Qualified Persons Rules (the Rules). The amendments came in force as from 31 December, 2020.
The Rules were extended for another five years whereby it is possible to apply for the status with the competent authority up until 31 December 2025 (as opposed to the previous cut-off date of 31 December 2020), and any such determination issued must refer to any employment in respect of which the benefit provided by the HQP Rules commences by 31 December 2026 and ceases to apply by 31 December 2030 (previously – 31 December 2025).
Eligible beneficiaries of the Rules may now apply for a second extension of their status for a further period of five (in case of EU, Swiss and EEA nationals) or four years (in case of third country nationals). Previously only one extension of the status was available to beneficiaries.
The Rules also abolished the limitation of 1460 days of stay for third country nationals. Under the old version of the Rules the rights under the status would be deemed to have been withdrawn with retrospective effect if a beneficiary, who is a third country national, physically stays in Malta, in the aggregate, for more than 1460 days.