According to the law, persons who are granted refugee status and subsidiary protection in Malta are issued a three years’ residence permit which is renewable.1
Once international protection is granted by RefCom, the beneficiary is issued a residence permit by Identity Malta, the public agency in charge of matters relating to passports, identity documents, work and residence permits for expatriates,
In practice, the issuance and renewal of the residence permits can raise some difficulties for many beneficiaries of protection, mainly due to the lack of provision of practical information, excessive administrative delays in processing applications, burdensome requirements and negative attitude in their regard by public officials.
Very little information is available for protection beneficiaries on the procedures and requirement relating to residence permits. Furthermore, the information provided by state officials is not always provided in a language understood by applicants. The procedure, including requirements, is not clearly indicated, written, or available online.
Usually, applicants are required to wait for a couple of months for their documentation to be provided. Although a receipt of their application form is provided, this has no real legal value, resulting in persons being unable to access their basic rights due to lack of possession of their residence papers.
Residence permit applicants are required to present evidence of their protection status, together with evidence of their current address. This latter requirement is particularly burdensome for protection beneficiaries as it is interpreted as requiring them to present a copy of their rent agreement together with a copy of the identification document of their landlords. In the majority of cases, Maltese landlords refuse to provide either rent agreements or personal documentation due to a fear of imposition of income tax on the income deriving for the rent.
Many protection beneficiaries report strong negative attitudes, comments and behaviour in their regard by public officials receiving and handling their residence permit applications. Many persons are ignored, rebuked, dismissed or otherwise not handled respectfully.
The renewal of residence permits is automatic upon request.
- 1. Regulation 20 Procedural Regulations.