Syria, Libya and Eritrea
In 2020, a total of 209 decisions on Syrian cases were taken. This refers to 45 refugee status, 107 subsidiary protection and 57 rejections (among them 53 were inadmissible). This means that the majority of Syrians continue to receive subsidiary protection in Malta.
By way of comparison, 429 Syrian nationals had applied for international protection in Malta in 2019. The vast majority were granted subsidiary protection (261) while 24 were recognised as refugees. 77 applications were rejected but that number includes implicit and explicit withdrawals.
In 2021, 186 Syrians applied for protection and 45 were granted subsidiary protection (26% of the total amount of positive decisions), while 411 applications were still pending at the end of the year.
In 2019, the Refugee Commissioner received 258 applications from Libyan nationals. 50 were granted subsidiary protection while 12 were recognised refugees. 24 applications were rejected but that also includes explicit and implicit withdrawals.
The IPA did not share statistics on Libyan nationals in 2020, but according to Eurostat the large majority of them obtained subsidiary protection (70 persons), none of them received a refugee status, and only 5 Libyan applicants were rejected. This confirmed that, where nationality was established, Libyan national continue to be systematically granted international protection.
This changed towards the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022, NGOs and lawyers noted a new trend to reject application of Libyan who do not have any personal circumstances which would increase the likelihood to be targeted by violence in the country. Still, 4 decisions to grant refugee status and 32 decisions to grant subsidiary protection were issued (19% of the total amount of positive decisions) while 13 applications were rejected. In 2021, 65 Libyans applied for International Protection, while 227 applications were still pending at the end of the year.
While was no data was provided by IPA regarding Eritrean applicants in 2019 and 2020, it reported that 69 Eritreans were granted subsidiary protection (40% of the total amount of positive decisions) and only 3 were rejected in 2021. This confirmed that, where nationality was established, Eritrean nationals are systematically granted international protection. In 2021, 163 Eritreans applied for International Protection, while 301 applications were still pending at the end of the year.
The decisions issued on cases regarding these 3 nationalities represent 86% of the total number of positive decisions issued by the IPA.
Bangladesh, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Egypt
As previously stated, nearly all applications from asylum seekers coming from Ghana, Bangladesh and Egypt are considered manifestly unfounded. NGOs report this practice has been ongoing since 2019 and has been expanded to other nationalities such as Ivory Coast and, to some extent, Nigeria.
According to NGOs, this practice is linked to the feasibility of returns for these applicants, also considering that they will be automatically detained upon arrival and kept in detention throughout their procedure, up until they are forcibly removed or convinced to opt a for voluntary return. The IPAT reviews automatically confirm the rejection, and the procedure is therefore concluded within a very short timeframe. NGOs report that new arrivals from these countries saw their applications rejected as manifestly unfounded within 1 or 2 months, most of them before they could even meet a lawyer for the first time. Individuals are often served with the IPA rejection, the IPAT review and the removal order at the same time.
In 2021, 127 applications from Bangladeshi nationals were rejected as manifestly unfounded (24% of all rejections), while 3 were granted protection. 53 new applications were lodged and the number of pending applications at the end of the year is unknown.
45 Egyptians applied for international protection in 2021 and 79 applications were rejected as manifestly unfounded (15% of all rejections).
Moroccans, Nigerians, Ivorians and Ghanaians were issued with a total of 139 rejections (26% of all rejections).
Rejection decisions concerning these nationalities amount to 66% of all the rejections issued in 2021.