People are usually allowed to stay one year in reception centres. In practice, there is a possibility for beneficiaries to stay longer than one year. Their request is assessed by AWAS on a case by case basis.
Moreover, as noted in Reception Conditions: Criteria and Restrictions, AWAS has indicated that some individuals may be authorised to return to reception centres. Usually, those persons are asked to come to AWAS’ office to apply for accommodation. An assessment is then made by a social worker who first tries to refer the person to the mainstream services. No formal criteria exist to decide on why certain persons can be reintegrated in reception centres but AWAS indicated that vulnerability is taken in account in priority.1
The main form of accommodation provided is access to reception centres. Two centres are dedicated to host minors and women and provide for smaller types of accommodation.
Refugees are entitled to apply to the Maltese Housing Authority program for alternative accommodation known as "Government Units for Rent", provided have been residing in Malta for 12 months and have limited income and assets. Refugees are also entitled to all of the schemes that the Housing Authority offers.
A recent study carried out among the migrant community in Malta (asylum-seekers and beneficiaries of international protection) evidenced that housing remains an issue for such population as rental prices have increased greatly over the past few years. Most of the people interrogated for the survey qualified housing costs as a burden. Moreover, problems such as shortage of space and lack of light are common as the overall quality of the dwellings rented by the migrant population is usually poor and/or their size is not suited for the number of individuals living in them.2