Malta, although not one of the most sought after countries for international protection, also offers excellent benefits to immigrants. The reason for the low demand is attributed to its geographical location, being an archipelago bordering North Africa. Nevertheless, the nation has the same advantages of any European Union (EU) state, so you can induce immigration procedures here.
Requests for protection in Malta are increasingly decreasing, which is a great opportunity for those who need its reception system. For example, by 2020, the government received only 2,000 cases, which was 60% of the previous year. This has allowed the Asylum Support Office (EASO) to intervene so that processing times are short and the country makes more humanitarian exceptions. Read on and discover the steps to follow to achieve this.
First considerations for applying for protection in Malta
In principle, please note that the national migration service is in charge of the International Protection Agency (IPA), which processes asylum applications and ensures that the statutory time limits (six months) are respected, although extensions are often approved. This agency is also responsible for the activities of Malta’s police, correctional services and national security.
For its part, EASO provides support in activities related to asylum and reception of asylum seekers, ensuring that procedures are fully complied with, but under the supervision of the IPA. Some of the tasks in which it intervenes are: registration, data collection and interviews. This has had a positive impact on the progress of cases.
Now, to start the process you must be in Malta, or in any of its borders, and formalize the registration of your application indicating the intention of needing asylum in the territory. Continue reading the steps to follow.
Procedure for processing an asylum application in Malta
Your data will be recorded in a computer database, called the European system for the comparison of fingerprints of asylum seekers (EuroDac). It is therefore essential that you only initiate the asylum procedure if you have not already opened a file in another EU nation.
Step 1. Registration of the request
They will take your personal data and do a review at EuroDac, to determine if it will be necessary to schedule an interview with the Dublin unit. This will serve to define if Malta will be the State responsible for processing your asylum application. If not, they will apply the procedure of the agreement, which you can consult here.
On the other hand, if the Maltese government is the one who will process your request, then you will have to fill out a form in which you will indicate the reasons for requesting asylum. At the end of the registration, you will be assigned a unique IPA number, for the control of your file.
On the same day, you will receive your asylum seeker’s certificate, so that you will have free mobility in the Maltese territory. The document will also be useful for you to enjoy health and educational benefits.
Step 2. Interview
After a couple of days, the IPA will notify you of the date of the interview with the immigration staff. The meeting will be recorded and put in writing, and it is important that this evidence has as many details of your case as possible, as it will be reviewed later to evaluate the admissibility of the process.
Step 3. Admissibility procedure
The Maltese International Protection Act sets out the grounds on which a asylum request is inadmissible. The most relevant are:
- There is a grant of international protection in another EU state.
- The country of origin is safe, and the case does not merit foreign assistance.
- A second application has been initiated in the country without new elements that make it admissible.
- A person who is part of the asylum application made an independent application.
If you application is inadmissibleit may not be discarded all at once, at this step, but instead be submitted under a accelerated procedure. We will explain this in detail in the next section.
If the IPA determines that your request is admissible You will be a candidate for refugee status. What starts a ordinary or accelerated procedureLet’s see what each one implies:
The IPA’s regular procedure aims to resolve applications within a maximum of six months. However, this can be extended to nine months if the Director General determines that there are grounds for further investigation. Or, simply, a very large number of applications for international protection have been received, which is not the case at present. Although you will be notified of any delay and the reasons for it.
If the IPA’s decision is a rejection, you can appeal to the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) within two weeks. After that, the agency will have a period of three to six months to indicate a second response.
However, you also have the option to withdraw from the case and return to your home country within the time indicated in the initial notification. If you do not do so, you will be searched and forced to leave in a forced manner and with entry restrictions to Malta for future opportunities.
On the other hand, if the rejection includes the observation that the petition lacks sufficient grounds, there will be no right of appeal. The IPA will directly forward the case to the IPAT to conduct a new analysis and provide the final response.
Applies when the request is considered manifestly unfounded. The most common causes are:
- you raise irrelevant issues to qualify you as a possible refugee.
- you come from a safe country of origin.
- hide information or relevant documents about your identity.
- You destroyed an identity document or travel that would have helped support who you are.
- You state incoherent facts or false accusations about your country of origin.
- have you made a new request to delay or frustrate the execution of a previous decision.
- You refuse to provide the authorities with your fingerprints.
- you are considered a danger to national security and public order.
If your application is rejected and found to be manifestly unfounded, the IPA will notify the decision within three days, and the recommendation will be forwarded to the International Protection Appeals Tribunal. The IPAT will also have three days to provide a final decision on the petition.
Rights in the reception system
When you formalize your asylum application, you will be able to access the benefits offered by the Maltese nation for asylum seekers. These will be granted to you if you do not have sufficient resources to cover your needs for accommodation, food, health, clothing or studies, while the IPA defines the case.
Generally, applicants who are assigned to shelter centers are given an allowance to cover the most basic needs. If you are detained, you will not receive such assistance, but you will be entitled to housing, food, clothing, medical care and education.
Please note that even if you are assigned to a refugee center, the IPA does not oblige you to stay there. However, if you decide to stay elsewhere, you must keep the authorities informed so that they can locate you once they have the answer to your case. In addition, you will no longer receive any subsidies and will have to be self-supporting.
When you apply for asylum in Malta you will be able to access any paid job, without limitations. However, the law determines that you will only be able to work after nine months from the date of your application.
That is to say that, at present, from the moment you make the application you can ask for an employment license. The validity of this license varies from three to six months, with the option to renew it, depending on the duration of your case. This procedure is not free, it has an initial cost of 58 € and the extensions of 34 €.
Education and health
In the case of education, the Maltese authorities created a unit for migrant students, which seeks the inclusion of applicants, recently arrived in the country, to the training system. Similarly, the State provides asylum seekers the possibility and the right to access to health services, both public and private.
Undoubtedly, Malta is an excellent option to seek refuge. So if you are persecuted, threatened or discriminated in your country you can flee and find the doors open at the Maltese borders; as long as you have enough evidence, make honest statements and no section of the Dublin Regulation applies to you.