IWB for refugees: Malta
Malta as a member state of the European Union is following the EU legislative regime, as it also has ratified different international human rights treaties.
On the international level, Malta has singed the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951) and its Protocol (1967).
Regarding the domestic legislation, Malta has adopted numerous regulations and standards, and implemented decrees and administrative guidelines and regulations based on international and regional legislative framework in regards to immigrants.
- Refugees Act, Chapter 420 of the Laws of Malta, was the first ever enacted law on asylum. It saw to the establishment of the Office of the Refugee Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Board. This Act and its Subsidiary Legislation define who is a refugee and a beneficiary of subsidiary protection, establishes the rights and benefits of refugees and persons with subsidiary protection, provides legal aid on the same basis as Maltese citizen amongst other.
- Immigration Act of 1970 is the country’s policy related to irregular migrants.
- Procedural Standards for the Granting and Withdrawing International Protection – Legal Notice 416 of 2015.
- Social Security (UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees) Order, Legal Notice 291 of 2001.
- Children and Young Persons (Care Orders) Act.
- Board of Visitors for Detained Persons Regulations, Legal Notice 266 of 2007.
- Agency for the Welfare of Asylum-seekers Regulations, Legal Notice 205 of 2009.
- Asylum Procedures (Application for a Declaration) Regulations, Legal Notice 253 of 2001.
- Immigration Appeals Board (Additional Jurisdiction) Regulation, Legal Notice 2 of 2012.
- Refugee Appeals Board (Chambers) Rules, Legal Notice 47 of 2005.
- Reception of Asylum-seekers (Minimum Standards) Regulations, Legal Notice 320 of 2005.
- Irregular Immigrants, Refugees & Integration Policy Document (2005).
- Council Regulation No. 2725/2000 of 11 December concerning the establishment of EURODAC for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of the Dublin Convention.
- Council Directive 2013/33 laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection, which have been transposed into Maltese legislative framework by the adoption of Reception of Asylum Seekers (Minimum Standards) Regulations, SL 420.06.
- Council Directive 2008/115 on common standards and procedures for returning illegally staying third-country nationals, which have been transposed into Maltese domestic legislation by the adoption of Common Standards and procedures for Returning Illegally Staying Third-Country Nationals Regulation, SL 217.12.
- Procedural Standards in Examining International Protection Regulations (SL 420.07).
During 2014, 1350 individuals applied for asylum in Malta, 40% less than the 2245 applications in 2013, which represent 0.2% of asylum applications made in this period across all European Union (Eurostat Data).
Top five countries they are coming from
Reason of choosing Malta
- Geographical position – very close to North Africa coast
- The ongoing situation of violence in their respective countries
- The economic hardship situation
- The “sealing” of land borders (such as those in Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey)
How much state allowance does a refugee receive a month?
According to the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seeker (AWAS), they provide different amounts of daily allowance as follow:
- Asylum seekers receive per diem 4,66€ (130,44€ per month);
- Persons returned under the Dublin III regulation receive 2,91€ per day;
- Employed asylum seekers do not receive anything but upon the termination of the employment they are granted 4,08€ per day;
- Children receive 2,33€ per day until they turn 17.
Asylum-seekers living in Open Centers are obliged to confirm on regular basis their presence in order to get the allowances. These small allowances amounts are intended to cover small food and the cost of transportation.
Nevertheless asylum seekers living in Open Centers are required to contribute with 8€ weekly, in order to cover the cost of materials of living conditions.
What are the living conditions of refugees (for example housing)?
Irregular migrants would be initially accommodated at an Initial Reception Facility in order to get the medical support and start the procedures with the respective authorities. Migrants might stay at the Initial Reception Facility no more than 7 days, except in cases, when a specialized health care service is required.
Within the country of Malta there are 8 reception centres, 6 of which are administered by the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers (AWAS), and the other 2 by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO). These Open Centres provide sleeping rooms, common cooking areas as well as showers and toilets. Part of AWAS is also the Initial Reception Facility.
One of the biggest challenges of these centres is that they become over-crowded at various times of year. In this case, alternative sources are being used such as shelters for homeless people. Single women and unaccompanied children are accommodated separately in Open Centres, although the unaccompanied children aged 16 or over might be accommodated with adult asylum seekers (Reception Regulation). In the case of unaccompanied children, they have free access to State School education. Meanwhile the AWAS staff members should start the procedures to find the family members of unaccompanied minors in order to be reunited with them. The Open Centres are a temporary solution for asylum seekers. Therefore asylum seekers are expected to stay there for no more than 12 months, unless humanitarian considerations dictate otherwise. The main aim of the Open Centres is to prepare, to assist and to facilitate integration of asylum-seekers in the Maltese society. AWAS have assisted over 17 000 asylum seeker in Malta through offering different services.
Are refugees offered language lessons?
English language is the most used in Malta, especially in education. English courses are offered from time to time within the Open Centres. Other language courses are offered also outside the Open Centres and most of them are for free.
Are people with an official refugee status allowed to work? If yes, is there assistance for finding employment?
According to Refugee Act Article 11, when a person is declared to be a refugee, he/she is entitled to stay in Malta, and the government provide them with personal documents, including the residence permit. The officially recognized refugees have the right to access to state education, different trainings in Malta and to receive state medical care and services. The family members of the refugee are entitled to the same rights and freedoms.
Within the country, various vocational training courses are accessible to refugees, although there are some obstacles such as the language, limited or no academic or professional experience, limited or seasonal employment alternatives, high competition between refugees and a small number of jobs available in the labour market. Courses are offered full-time and short time and most of them are for free. AWAS staff members are assisting asylum-seekers to identify courses or job opportunities according to their abilities or preferences.
Do legal refugees have the right to work immediately or only after a certain period of time?
Based on Maltese legislation an asylum seeker is allowed to access to the labour Market without limitations. This access is not granted immediately, it is allowed only after 12 months following their asylum application. Although there is clause in Refugee Act, Article 11.2 which states that ‘an asylum seeker is not allowed to seek for an employment or carry a business unless with the consent of the Minister’. Children who are under 16 years are not allowed to work in Malta.
Is there a maximum amount of time that a refugee can stay in the country in which it seeks asylum? Also receiving a legal refugee status?
The asylum procedure lasts up to twelve months. During this time the residence permit of asylum-seekers is renewable every four months accompanied by the assessments of AWAS staff members.
Do refugees or their children have the right to attend schools, universities, etc?
The refugees and asylum-seeking children are entitled to have access to education, such as state-funded education (primary and secondary education) and various vocational trainings. The asylum-seeking children are entitled to access the education system within 3 months of submitting the asylum application. This 3-month period can be extended to 1 year depend on when a specific education is needed. Primary and secondary education is offered to asylum-seeking children up to 15 or 16 years old and it is obligatory irrespective of their immigration status. Refugees and asylum-seeking children are eligible to apply to be excluded from different fees such as access to the university, training courses, language lessons and other courses, which are done through Ministry of Education and Employment. Children from 0 to 3 years old can attend a free childcare centre while parents are at work.
Is the state obliged to provide asylum seekers with healthcare?
All persons entering Malta irregularly, at first instance are assisted by Health Authorities, which are offering first aid medical support. Initially, immigrants will be assisted by Port Health doctors, who will conduct a detailed clinical review and refer them to more specialized services, if professional medical care is needed. Additionally, general physical check-ups and further examination related to infectious disease is offered. All immigrants are updated with vaccinations in accordance with national health requirements.
According to domestic legislation, the state is obliged to provide asylum seekers with medical health care services. Asylum seekers are allowed to access the state health care services, but their main obstacle is the language. During the emergences cases there are other obstacles such as limited transport availability, absence of full-time medical professionals especially for mentally ill people in the reception centres. There is no specialised service for victims of torture or trauma in the island. Detained asylum seekers are provided with health care services although there are not sufficient to meet all the needs of the people inside the centres. AWAS professionals, are entitled to decide for every vulnerable person case-by-case in order to provide for them adequate support and appropriate care. In cases when a detained migrant, appear to have severe health problems then he/she is being accommodated to Open Centers.
Do refugees experience obstacles with regard to issues like social life, personal well-being, freedom, etc? Please illustrate briefly.
Various reports have identified different problematics for the asylum-seekers, children and detained persons. Below some of the most important problems encountered by asylum-seeker in their daily life are being listed.
Language represents the first barrier for refugees who want to get integrated in the social life. The lack of knowledge of the language is a barrier for finding a job, training, further education or access to healthcare facilities (especially during the emergency cases). Asylum-seekers are not allowed to access social welfare benefits. Cultural diversity is one of the challenges in access to health care services.
The continuous and large number of asylum-seekers accommodated in Open Centers might cause problems in maintenance and hygienic conditions.
Regarding employment possibilities, as mentioned above, obstacles are seen in limited seasonal employment possibilities, limited or no academic or no professional experience background of the refugees, high competition between refugees and a small number of jobs available in the labour market.
With regards to education and training for adults, refugees face obstacles such as the lack of preparatory classes for children, or limited or no educational background associated with language difficulties and the transportation cost.
 Procedural Standards in Examining International Protection Regulations (SL 420.07).
 Refugees Act 2000, Chapter 420, Art. 11.
 See for example: ‘Information Booklet for Residents of Open Centres’, this booklet has been produced in the framework of the Project: Information Sessions to Residents of Open Centres, co-financed by European Union through European Refugee Fund. (EFR 2013/04).
 Refugees Act 2000, Chapter 420, Art. 11 (2).
 AIDA Asylum Information database Country Report February 2015, p.40.
 Refugees Act 2000, Chapter 420, Art. 10 and 11.
 Refugees Act 2000, Chapter 420, Art. 10 (1).
 AIDA Asylum Information database Country Report February 2015, p.46.
 AIDA Asylum Information database Country Report February 2015, p.46.
All the people who are seeking asylum should have an interview with an immigration officer, and the asylum application should be filled within 60 days of the arrival of the applicant. All those who apply for asylum, or international protection or those who enter Malta irregularly (usually by boat) are systematically fingerprinted and photographed by the Immigration Authorities (Police Immigration Section) in order to be inserted into the EURODAC database. Based on the Reception Regulation, the Principal Immigration Officer should provide enough information to all the applicants regarding the asylum procedure, benefits, entitlements and obligation, within 15 days of starting the asylum application in a language which the applicant understands. A booklet with the migrants’ rights and obligations is given to all migrants.
All the applications for international protection or asylum seeker in Malta should be presented to the Refugee Commissioner (RefCom), which is the authority responsible for examining and determining applications for refugee status at first instance.
The initial stage of the procedure requires to complete the ‘Preliminary questionnaire’ (PQ), which should be in a language that the applicant understands. The PQ is considered to be the registration of asylum seeker’s desire towards international protection. At this stage the asylum seekers are first asked also to fill in the ‘Dublin questionnaire’ wherein they are asked to specify if they have family members residing within the European Union. In the case that they have family members residing in other EU Member States, according to the Dublin III Regulation, the examination of the applicant for protection is suspended until the final decision of the Dublin procedure. The Refugee Commissioner is also the head of Dublin Unit and the immigration police are charged with implementing the Dublin procedure in practice.
In the case where the applicant does not fill in the Dublin Questionnaire, the procedure requires that after the PQ, the applicant is scheduled for an interview with the Commissioner. In the moment when the applicant is called for the interview he is asked to fill in an ‘Application form’, which is similar to the previous PQ and represent the official application for international protection. The interview with the applicant is conducted in private and is recorded, if necessary with the assistance of an interpreter. The applicant should present his case fully giving adequate explanations for all the reasons why he have submitted his application.
The Refugee Commissioner should as soon as possible examine the application for the refugee status and decide whether to accept or to deny the refugee status. The decision of the Commissioner should be in writing and stating the reasons of supporting it.
 Refugees Act 2000, Chapter 420, Art. 4.
 Refugees Act 2000, Chapter 420, Art. 8(5).
1. Can you summarise what your work entrails, what a typical day looks like for you?
I interview asylum seekers who came to Malta to seek protection. I also work on their cases, I draw up a report with a recommendation for their decision. I also attend meetings, which are necessary for our work.
2. Was it a conscious choice to work with refugees?
Yes, I personally applied for this job.
3. Which is-in your view-the most pressing issue with regards to refugees in this country? And on an international and EU level?
I think there is not enough awareness and education of the general public with regards to asylum seekers and third country nationals. This can lead to misunderstandings, cultural clashes and lack of respect. This also applies on an international and EU level.
4. In your experience, what is the general opinion about refugees in this country? Both in a public and political sense.
Since there is misinformation and lack of information, the general public is weary and the element of fear is quite widespread.
5. What are the most significant changes you have experienced, throughout time, in the way refugees are treated and perceived?
Over time, with more and more asylum seekers arriving to Malta, fear among the general public has increased.
6. Which refugee issues could benefit most from more strictly enforced EU-level regulations and laws?
Integration and education should be more accessible to asylum seekers since it would help both the Maltese and the asylum seekers to understand each other better.
7. What are your future expectations for changes in policies with regards to asylum seekers? Both on a national and EU level.
As stated before integration and education are key pillars to help everyone in society to understand each other.
1. What led you to take the decision to flee your country?
I left my country because of lack of freedom, lack of human rights and to avoid compulsory military service.
Due to the instable situation in my country. My brother was kidnapped and blackmailed and I was threatened to be next. My father and my mother were also threatened later on. I couldn’t get protection from the police as militias are in control there.
Because there is complicated situation I mean. It is hard to live but the main thing is I have been called to join for unlimited military service. If I refused that, I would be imprisoned or killed.
Tribal war and ambition of a better future.
2. Why did you ask for asylum in this country?
To get protection, to live peacefully and to have good future.
My visa was Maltese, but later on I discovered living in Malta was a good option for me regarding the language.
Because my plan was to stay in a safe country and this country is the first country that I reached in Europe.
It is the first EU country I arrived in and to feel safe and recognized by the State.
3. Could you tell something about your reception in this country? For example, did you feel welcome, did you experience aggression, did you understand the process you entered?
Yes I feel welcome and I feel comfortable.
I found respect and understanding from the Refugee Commissioner and the Assistant Refugee Commissioner but I was so confused and mistreated from the reception.
Yes I feel welcome. I was detained because I came illegally but I got more experience and I understood the process. I feel like I am safe in this country.
I feel very welcome though I sometimes encounter aggressions which I may be victim of in any other country including my own country.
4. What is the situation now in your country?
Not good, there are no human rights; many people are in different prisons.
The situation is unsettled and there is an on-going conflict in many regions and cities.
It is very bad like they told me-my family-it became worse and worse. They feel like they are in a prison.
Safe to a certain extent.
5. Are other family members planning to seek asylum?
Yes, but didn’t manage to get a visa to leave the country.
Yes I have siblings in Sudan, their life is not safe. They need to apply for asylum in a safe country.
No, I think none of them will seek asylum.
6. Do you feel you have a future in this country, for example in terms of job, housing and permanent residency?
Yes, but my priority is resettlement to the USA.
I believe I have future but I find it limited, I found difficulties to get all mentioned.
Yes my plan is to study the course that I was studying when I was in my country.
Yes I do, in terms of job, not in housing and permanent residency.
7. Knowing what you know now, would you have done the same, or would you have done things differently?
I consider my decision to leave was the right step and I am content that I decided that at the right time.
The important thing for humans in this world is freedom so this is the most different in my life, when I see my background and now.
I would have done the same in the same situation though I would have done it differently if I found a better solution.
In the case of denial the applicant, within two-week time period might appeal the decision to the Refugee Appeals Board. This Board is an administrative tribunal based on the Refugees Act and consists of six chambers. The Board has the power to hear and determine appeals against a recommendation of the Commissioner. Also the Minister may enter an appeal against the recommendation of the Commissioner. When an appeal is entered to the Board, it has a suspensive effect, which means that the applicant who is in custody may not be removed from Malta prior to a final decision being taken on his appeal.
Based on the Refugees Act, the decision of the Refugee Appeals Board cannot be appealed although it is possible to submit a judicial review application to the First Hall of the Civil Court (this is the Chamber of general jurisdiction).
In case of a violation of fundamental human rights, the applicant might fill a claim to the European Court of Human Rights according to the European Convention on Human Rights and Maltese Constitution.
During the whole application procedure, the applicant has the right to legal aid.
 Refugees Act 2000, Chapter 420, Art. 7.
 Refugees Act 2000, Chapter 420, Art. 7 (3).
The media landscape in Malta is an interesting one, mainly because of its very clear political affiliations. All newspapers have political origins, the leading radio station is owned by the labour
party1 and also the current prime minister has affiliations with news media, he was a journalist.2 In theory this should account for interesting reporting on such a hot topic as the current refugee crisis; however, this is not the case. It seems that news media save their differences for reporting on national issues and report in comparable fashion on Malta’s place in the current refugee crisis. There are also no noticeable differences in the way the ‘stranger’ is treated or portrayed in newspapers. Because of this absence of sharp contradictions in the way different newspapers report on the refugee crisis, it should be possible to construct one dominant attitude. Because of the proximity of Italy and the popularity of Italian media on Malta, it should also be considered that the media analysis of Italy is also partially applicable on Malta. The same could be said about the UK, English is one of Malta’s official languages and roughly half of its media outlets are English-language.
Media landscape (choice of media)
The choice of media to analyse is newspapers; this medium is dedicated to reporting on current events and still is the most prominent platform for journalism. Additionally, because of the space offered by internet newspapers are in the position to report on a more than daily basis on a wide selection of topics. Where news shows on television only have limited time to superficially report on a narrow selection of topics, newspapers have the means to offer a more varied and in in-depth overview of current events. Even though there are television or radio programmes dedicated to in- depth analysis of news topics, the inherent time restrictions of audio-visual media do not allow for the same comprehensiveness as newspapers.
What is most striking in the coverage of the refugee crisis is that individuals hardly play a role; refugees – or asylum-seekers – are predominantly approached as a group. Despite that refugees remain faceless, there is an understanding for the reasons they are fleeing3 and they are not portrayed as unwanted fortune seekers. Reservations with regard to the presence of asylum-seekers mainly take the form of a recurring emphasis on the small size of Malta and the uneven burden it already has to take on.4 In the same vein, newspapers paint the picture that the current migrant crisis is not new to Malta, it is something they had to endure for years and now finally has reached the rest of Europe.5 The image is created that Malta has been calling about this issue for years, but was ignored by the EU. Considering that news media are an instrument of the political parties, the underlying message to the electorate might be: There is an issue that frustrates you, but it is not the fault of Maltese politicians, it is Europe.
Interesting in this regard is that Malta does not have to suffer this burden in isolation; newspapers portray Italy as an important ally and fellow victim of an unjust EU migration policy.6 The reasons for this feeling of unity with Italy are not clear; it might be its geographical and cultural proximity. A same feeling of unity with Greece – also not inexperienced with large influxes of refugees – seems absent however. It seems that newspapers are aiming at creating the impression of Malta and Italy that are struggling to lead the EU towards a more reasonable migration policy. In this context it is not so much the refugees that are the centre of attention in the Maltese press, it is the failing European Union that needs to get its act together.7 However, it is not complete misery in EU immigration politics, apart from Malta and Italy, also Germany and Sweden are frequently praised for their role in the current crisis.8 The reason for this favourable view probably is that Malta identifies with Germany and Sweden because they also take in a relatively high number of refugees. That Greece is mentioned only sporadically could be blamed on the financial crisis; a country in such a financial state is not a country to compare oneself with.
It is a clear trend that in the Maltese media the refugee crisis is mostly discussed on an international and EU level. The reason for this probably is that on an international level it is easier to present the role of Malta as honourable and good.9 Being that news media are political instruments, it would not be in the interest of a political party to write badly about Malta. However, for refugee issues on a national level there is room for criticism.10 This might be because for the readers it is clear which party or other political entity is responsible for the failing policy. For example, it is striking that the newspaper of the labour party, Malta Today, give quite some attention to the conditions of shelter and housing for asylum-seekers in Malta,11 while other newspapers do not discuss this issue. In the same vein, while news media in most EU countries take an apparent delight in discussing asylum-seekers in the same context as religious terrorism and criminal behaviour, the Maltese newspapers hardly link refugees with terrorism or criminality.12
Where in most European countries the refugee crisis is used for political propaganda and sensationalist media claims, Malta seems to be the tranquil opposite. While it is inescapable to present Europe as being in chaos,13 the press gives far more attention to Malta’s sensible role amidst this turmoil. Additionally, according to the news media, apart from the ability to guide the EU towards sensible solutions, Malta also plays its part in taking in refugees, and it does so without reservations – when it is necessary to do more Malta will do more. While in some sense the creation of such an image might seem somewhat absurd and ridiculous, it does have major potential positives.
It might not be surprising that the actual situation on the ground is a bit different. In addition to being one of the easy options for boat refugees trying to reach the EU from North Africa, Malta also is a densely populated island. It is predictable that refugees are not particularly welcome and that plans to permanently settle them on Malta are met by hostility.14
By creating a more positive image, in which Malta plays a role that might evoke feelings of pride and nationalism, it might well be that the Maltese soften their negative demeanour towards refugees. Further, by treating the refugee crisis mostly in an EU context the picture can be created of a failing European policy in which Maltese politicians have no part. Even more so, according to the news media, this crisis shows that Malta is a guide country that can show Europe the way.
Another or additional consequence might be that the Maltese will feel a greater distance between Malta and the EU. Newspapers give the impression that Malta is not heard and not appreciated on a European level, this might feed a feeling of isolation and increase support for political decisions that do not stroke with EU policy. For example, accepting fewer refugees to settle in Malta than should be accepted according to quota.
To conclude, there are two main potential consequences of the reporting on the refugee crisis. On the one hand this style of reporting might feed a feeling of national pride of Malta and its role in this crisis; people would be more inclined to have a positive demeanour towards refugees and there would be a general broader basis for a more humane treatment of asylum-seekers. On the other hand, newspapers are pointing a big finger towards the EU and are also blaming the current situation – more or less – on an unwillingness to listen to Malta. This creates a divide between Malta and the EU that might not be beneficial to the refugee crisis and could lead to a less humane treatment of asylum- seekers. Whatever the outcome may be, it is refreshing to see national news media present the current refugee crisis as a source of national pride and not as reason to panic. Disregarding its exaggerated criticism on the EU, this is a style of reporting that many European newspapers could take as an example. Instead of feeding the negatives, media also have a responsibility to highlight positives.
- Borg, J. “Malta.” Media Landscapes. European Journalism Centre, n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2015. <http://ejc.net/media_landscapes/malta>. “Malta Profile.” BBC News. BBC, 31 July 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-17598077>.
- “Joseph Muscat.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Nov. 2015. Web. 08 Dec. 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Muscat>.
- For example: Manduca, A. “Europe’s Refugee Crisis.” Times of Malta. Timesofmalta.com, 13 Sept. 2015. Web. 08 Dec. 2015. <http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150913/opinion/Europe-s-refugee-crisis.584184>.
- For example: Calleja, C. “Malta ‘second in World for Density of Refugees'” Times of Malta. Timesofmalta.com, 08 Jan. 2015. Web. 08 Dec. 2015. <http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150108/local/Malta-second-in-world-for-density-of- refugees-.550994>. or: Carabott, S. “Malta Asked to Take 133 More Refugees.” Times of Malta. Timesofmalta.com, 08 Sept. 2015. Web. 08 Dec. 2015. <http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150908/local/malta-asked-to-take-133-more- refugees.583584>.
- For example: “Migration Burden-sharing Negotiations Launched, Maltese MEP to Take on Dublin Recast.” The Malta Independent Online. Standard Publications Ltd., 3 Oct. 2015. Web. 08 Dec. 2015. <http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2015-10-03/local-news/Migration-burden-sharing- negotiations-launched-Maltese-MEP-to-take-on-Dublin-recast-6736143008>, Dalli, M. “Malta Ready to Take in Its Share of Refugees.” Malta Today. MediaToday Co. Ltd, 9 Sept. 2015. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/56937/malta_ready_to_take_in_its_share_of_refugees#.VmbjI7iDG kq> or: Dalli, M. “Refugee Crisis | EU Remains Divided as Talks on Quotas Fail Again.” Malta Today. MediaToday Co. Ltd, 15 Sept. 2015. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/europe/57138/refugee_crisis eu_remains_divided_as_talks_on_quotas_fail _again#.VmbjxriDGkq>. But also: ‘Calls for European solidarity from Italy and Malta in dealing with the migrant crisis over the past few years were largely ignored; now however, with the situation getting out of control, largely due to the war in Syria, and because many more countries have been affected, it looks like there might finally be a European response to the question of migration.’ in: Manduca, A. “Europe’s Refugee Crisis.” Times of Malta. Timesofmalta.com, n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2015. <http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150913/opinion/Europe-s-refugee-crisis.584184>.
- See: Associated Press. “Plane Carrying Eritreans Leaves Italy for Sweden under New Eureopean Union Plan.” The Malta Independent Online. Standard Publications Ltd., 9 Oct. 2015. Web. 08 Dec. 2015. <http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2015-10-09/world-news/Plane-carrying-Eritreans-leaves-Italy-for- Sweden-under-new-Eureopean-Union-plan-6736143316>, Dalli, M. “Italy, Malta Call for Global Approach to Refugee Crisis.” Malta Today. MediaToday Co. Ltd, 3 Sept. 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. <http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/56761/italy_malta_call_for_global_approach_to_refugee_crisis#.Vm bjRLiDGk>, Mizzi, D. “‘Absurd’ Refugee System Making Malta Unable to Shoulder Migratory Influx – Austria.” Malta Today. MediaToday Co. Ltd, 3 May 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. <http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/52512/absurd_refugee_system_making_malta_unable_to_shoulder_ migratory_influx austria#.VmbjJ7iDGkq>, Dalli, M. “Malta Ready to Take in Its Share of Refugees.” com.mt. MediaToday Co. Ltd, 9 Sept. 2015. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/56937/malta_ready_to_take_in_its_share_of_refugees#.VmbjI7iDG kq> or: ‘Hopefully, Europe will rise to this challenge and agree to a common asylum policy and to the principle of burden sharing, something Malta and Italy have been insisting on for years.’ in: Manduca, A. “Europe’s Refugee Crisis.” Times of Malta. Timesofmalta.com, 13 Sept. 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. <http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150913/opinion/Europe-s-refugee-crisis.584184>.
- For example: “‘Absurd’ Refugee System Making Malta Unable to Shoulder Migratory Influx – Austria.” Malta Today. MediaToday Co. Ltd, 3 May 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. <http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/52512/absurd_refugee_system_making_malta_unable_to_shoulder_ migratory_influx austria#.VmbjJ7iDGkq> or: “Europe Must Not Shirk Its Refugee Obligations.” com.mt. MediaToday Co. Ltd, 10 Sept. 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. <http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/comment/editorial/56941/europe_must_not_shirk_its_refugee_obligations#.Vmbjo 7iDGkp>.
- See: Reuters. “Renzi Pushes EU Partners to Accept Quotas of Refugees.” Times of Malta. Timesofmalta.com, 21 May 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. <http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150521/world/Renzi-pushes-EU-partners-to-accept-quotas-of- refugees.569076h> or: Associated Press. “Plane Carrying Eritreans Leaves Italy for Sweden under New Eureopean Union Plan.” The Malta Independent Online. Standard Publications Ltd., 9 Oct. 2015. Web. 08 Dec. 2015. <http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2015-10-09/world-news/Plane-carrying-Eritreans-leaves-Italy-for- Sweden-under-new-Eureopean-Union-plan-6736143316>.
- See: “Migration Burden-sharing Negotiations Launched, Maltese MEP to Take on Dublin Recast.” The Malta Independent Online. Standard Publications Ltd., 3 Oct. 2015. Web. 08 Dec. 2015. <http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2015-10-03/local-news/Migration-burden-sharing- negotiations-launched-Maltese-MEP-to-take-on-Dublin-recast-6736143008>, Agius, M. “Muscat Welcomes Increased Awareness of Refugee Issue.” Malta Today. MediaToday Co. Ltd, 6 Sept. 2015. Web. 08 Dec. 2015. <http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/56845/muscat_welcomes_increased_awareness_of_refugee_issue#.VmbjrLiDGk q> or: Calleja, C. “Malta ‘second in World for Density of Refugees'” Times of Malta. Timesofmalta.com, 08 Jan. 2015. Web. 08 Dec. 2015. <http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150108/local/Malta-second-in-world-for-density-of- refugees-.550994>.
- For example: Vella, M. “United States Flags Malta’s ‘harsh Treatment’ of Asylum Seekers.” Malta Today. MediaToday Co. Ltd, 28 Mar. 2014. Web. 08 Dec. 2015. <http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/37392/united_states_flags_maltas_harsh_treatment_of_asylum_seek ers#.Vmbka7iDGkq>, Vella, M. “Asylum Seeker’s Suicide Attempt after Protection Claim Is Turned down.” Malta Today. MediaToday Co. Ltd, 23 Jan. 2012. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. <http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/15440/asylum-seeker-s-suicide-attempt-after- protection-claim-is-turned-down-20120123#.VmbksLiDGkq> or: Carabott, S. “‘If You Don’t Have Asylum Then Your Life Here Is Zero'” Times of Malta. Timesofmalta.com, 25 May 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. <http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150525/local/if-you-dont-have-asylum-then-your-life-here-is-zero.569580>.
- See: Diacono, T. “Detention for Asylum Seekers Could Be Reduced to Nine Months.” Malta Today. MediaToday Co. Ltd, 9 Feb. 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. <http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/49381/detention_for_asylum_seekers_could_be_reduced_to_nine_m onths#.VmbkMLiDGkq>, Vella, M. “United States Flags Malta’s ‘harsh Treatment’ of Asylum Seekers.” Malta Today. MediaToday Co. Ltd, 28 Mar. 2014. Web. 08 Dec. 2015. <http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/37392/united_states_flags_maltas_harsh_treatment_of_asylum_seek ers#.Vmbka7iDGkq>, Vella, M. “Asylum Seeker’s Suicide Attempt after Protection Claim Is Turned down.” Malta Today. MediaToday Co. Ltd, 23 Jan. 2012. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. <http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/15440/asylum-seeker-s-suicide-attempt-after- protection-claim-is-turned-down-20120123#.VmbksLiDGkq> or: Balzan, J. “Malta Urged to Improve Detention Conditions for Asylum Seekers.” Malta Today. MediaToday Co. Ltd, 23 July 2013. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. <http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/28581/malta-urged-to-improve-detention-conditions-for-asylum- seekers-20130723#.Vmbkq7iDGkq>.
- It could also be that criminal acts are in any way rare in Malta, one burglary was covered by two separate articles in the same newspaper, see: Micallef, K. “Refugee Charged with Attempted Break-in.” Times of Malta. Timesofmalta.com, 2 Sept. 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. <http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150902/local/refugee-charged-with-attempted-break-in.582912> and: “Refugee Jailed for Attempted Robbery.” Times of Malta. Timesofmalta.com, 5 Oct. 2015. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151005/local/refugee-jailed-for-attempted-robbery.587063>.
- For example: “Refugee Crisis: Thousands Enter Slovenia after Hungary Closes Border.” Malta Today. MediaToday Co. Ltd, 18 Oct. 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. <http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/world/58322/refugee_crisis_thousands_enter_slovenia_after_hungary_closes _border#.VmbjvLiDGkq> or: Nebehay, S. “Asylum Seekers in West Highest since Bosnia War.” Times of Malta. Timesofmalta.com, 27 Mar. 2015. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. <http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150327/world/asylum-seekers-in-west- highest-since-bosnia-war.561598>.
- See: Grech, H. “Migrant Crisis: Malta Seeks Solutions to Stem the Tide.” BBC News. BBC, 21 Apr. 2015. Web. 08 Dec. 2015. <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32389754>.
Malta’s ratio of asylum-seekers in proportion to its population has consistently been among the highest and very often the highest, among all EU Member States. In fact Malta received a total of 20.2 asylum applications per 1,000 inhabitants between 2009 and 2013, compared to and EU average of 2.9. According to Member States’ Support to Emergency Relocation Mechanism, Malta should host 131 refugees from the total number 160 000 refugees who enter in Europe. The Maltese government has declared that it is willing to support and facilitate this rellocation.
 Strategy for the Reception of Asylum Seekers and Irregular Migrants.
Although the EU Member States have affirmed their quotas for every country, we are still speaking of human beings who need as soon as possible an accommodation, work, medical support and getting integrated into the country’s life.
Various international and domestic institutions should cooperate in order to take positive actions in order to find appropriate and suitable solutions for the migrants who are not included within the above-mentioned quotas. Who is going to take care of these people? Are they going to be deported? How long do they have to wait?
Media should play an important role in raising awareness of the situation of migrants and thus helping people to understand the existing cultural differences. Stigma and stereotypes are the biggest barriers in supporting and facilitating the social integration of migrants.
A global effort is needed to remove the social and cultural barriers, through adopting comprehensive strategies and policies.
by Blerta Zenlaj