Malta

Only Maltese citizens will get €100 COVID-19 vouchers

Only Maltese citizens who are on the General Elections Electoral Register will receive a €100 voucher to be spent at establishments impacted by COVID-19.

Non-Maltese residents anxiously waiting to receive their coronavirus voucher have been told they are not eligible for the free government gift.

A government spokesperson confirmed that the vouchers will be sent to the addresses listed on the general election register.

Earlier this month Prime Minister Robert Abela announced that everyone aged over 16 will receive the vouchers to spend at restaurants, shops and hotels to give a boost to the local economy. 

In Malta there are three electoral registers: The General Elections Electoral Register for Maltese citizens aged over 16; the Local Councils Electoral Register for Maltese and EU citizens that are also residents; and the European Union Electoral Reigster for any citizen of the EU residing in Malta. 

Non-EU residents are not on any electoral register. 

The issue was highlighted by an EU national who posted on Facebook group Expats Malta that she had been told by a budget helpline that only Maltese citizens are eligible.  

The post on Expats Malta was quickly shared on Facebook and WhatsApp amid the confusion. Photo: FacebookThe post on Expats Malta was quickly shared on Facebook and WhatsApp amid the confusion. Photo: Facebook

Her post was widely shared on social media and WhatsApp. 

Expats have vented their frustration, some urging co-patriots to take up the issue with the EU.

When Times of Malta contacted the helpline 8007 2207, an automated message said every person aged 16 and up will receive the voucher. However, these will be sent on the address listed in the electoral register. 

Click here to check whether you are listed in the registry.

Last week Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli said that 340,000 people will receive the vouchers, adding that €80 out of the total of €100 can be used in industries linked to tourism, while the remaining €20 can be used at other businesses forced to close down, such as retail outlets and hairdressers. 

Slovenia has launched a similar initiative, whereby each adult citizen will be handed a €200 tourism voucher, with the aim of boosting the sector brought to a virtual halt during by the pandemic.

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