Relocation

Malta

Authors

aditus
JRS Malta

Relocation statistics: 22 September 2015 – 31 December 2017

Relocation from Italy

Relocation from Greece

 

Requests

Relocations

 

Requests

Relocations

Total

 67

 67

Total

101

101

Eritrea

 58

 58

Syria

8

8

Syria

 8

 8

Eritrea

63

63

Iraq/Libya

1

1

Iraq

30

30

Source: Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security, 15 January 2018.

Malta fulfilled its commitment to relocate 131 asylum seekers coming from Greece and Italy. A total 168 applicants have been relocated.

 

Relocation procedure

The Refugee Commissioner did not interview relocation candidates directly in Italy or Greece. According to the authorities, several relocation requests have been rejected.1 Statistics of the Greek Asylum Service, , refer to 14 rejected requests from Greece.2

The process from the request by Italy or Greece to actual relocation usually took between a few weeks to a couple of months depending on the specific situation of each case. This period could vary depending on different variants such as preparation by health authorities for medical cases in Malta and delays in response by Italy and Greece.3

 

Post-arrival treatment

Upon arrival, relocated persons were placed in the Initial Reception Centre (IRC). During their stay in the centre, they are medically screened before being taken to reception centres. So far most relocated applicants spent two to three days in the IRC awaiting medical clearance. During this time, they received information about the asylum procedure and they are given the opportunity to lodge an asylum application. While at the IRC they also received visits from UNHCR and the Red Cross. Upon release from the IRC, relocated persons were transferred to open reception centres.

Persons relocated to Malta went through the normal asylum procedure i.e. following the lodging of their application for international protection, the Office proceeded to schedule their interview, after which the case was examined and a final decision taken. According to the authorities, all cases are concluded on average within 2 months,. Since relocation cases are not subject to Visa Information System (VIS), Eurodac or Dublin procedures, in practice they are seen to immediately.

In practice, however, a number of issues have been identified over the course of 2016 and 2017 for relocated asylum seekers. Applicants arriving from Greece and Italy reported a clear lack of information and a lack of material resources. They also complained about being locked in the IRC upon arrival,4 as well as about the length of the procedure.5

According to NGOs assisting relocated applicants, several applications from Eritreans and Iraqis were rejected on the basis that their nationality could not be established.  

  • 1. Information provided by the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security, 15 January 2018.
  • 2. Greek Asylum Service, Relocation statistics, 14 January 2018.
  • 3. Information provided by the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security, 15 January 2018.
  • 4. The IRC used to be a confined environement before the authorities finally opened it in September 2017.
  • 5. Information taken from a forthcoming report on the relocation process in Malta from UNHCR Malta, aditus foundation, JRS Malta and Integra Foundation.

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti