Overview of the main changes since the previous report update



JRS Malta

The report was previously updated in February 2017.


Asylum procedure

  • Interview: Following changes in the Refugee Commissioner’s policy, asylum seekers now automatically receive, along with the decision and the interview notes, the assessment memo explaining in details the motivation of the decision. This constitutes a real improvement in the applicants’ rights to access their file and access effective remedy.

  • Dublin: The Dublin procedure is carried out by the Refugee Commissioner as of 2017. Following an amendment to the Refugees Act in April 2017, appeals against decisions taken under the Dublin Regulation are now possible through the filing of an appeal before the Refugee Appeals Board, which has taken over responsibility from the Immigration Appeals Board.

  • Accelerated procedure: According to NGOs assisting asylum seekers, the Refugee Commissioner started using the accelerated procedure in 2017 concerning nationals of safe countries of origin, to dismiss their claims as inadmissible.

  • Information: The provision of information on the Dublin procedure has improved. The Refugee Commissioner provides to asylum seekers for whom a Dublin transfer is considered a document explaining the Dublin procedure and the fact that their case is on hold until a possible Dublin decision is taken. This document is a standard information sheet but does provide individualised information to whom it is given.


Reception conditions

  • Freedom of movement: The Initial Reception Centre, where irregularly arriving asylum seekers are accommodated for a couple of days upon arrival, operated as a closed centre until September 2017. Following a change in policy it is now open.


Detention of asylum seekers

  • Statistics: In 2017, due to the very small number of boat arrivals, only 43 asylum seekers were detained in the course of the year. Almost all of them have been released after 2 or 3 months following the first review of their detention. According to the authorities, the average period of detention was 56 days in 2017. NGOs remain concerned about access to effective remedy for detained applicants.  

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