Number of staff and nature of the first instance authority

Malta

Country Report: Number of staff and nature of the first instance authority Last updated: 30/11/20

Author

JRS Malta Visit Website

Name in English

Number of staff

Ministry responsible

Is there any political interference possible by the responsible Minister with the decision making in individual cases by the determining authority?

Office of the Refugee Commissioner

29

Ministry for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement

 Yes   

Applications for international protection are to be lodged with the Refugee Commissioner. The Office of the Refugee Commissioner (RefCom) is the authority responsible for examining and determining applications for international protection at first instance.[1] RefCom is a specialised authority in the field of asylum. However, it falls under the Ministry also responsible for Police, Immigration, Asylum, Correctional Services and National Security. As of the end of June 2019, the Office of the Refugee Commissioner employed 29 staff. The vast majority of staff have less than three years of experience.[2]

In 2019, due to a large increase in sea arrivals, the Maltese authorities requested EASO support in several areas including the registration and lodging of applications, the interview and assessment of applications and support to increase the capacity and efficiency of the Dublin Unit. An operational and technical assistance plan was therefore signed on 24 June 2019.[3]

From June to December 2019, EASO has deployed, in total, 49 staff to Malta. This includes registration assistants deployed in the Initial Reception Centre Marsa (IRC) and Safi barracks and caseworkers who interview applicants and draft legal options. The number also includes Member State experts and Dublin caseworkers together with interpreters.

Given the continued increase in sea arrivals, a new plan for 2020 was signed between Malta and EASO in December 2019.[4] This new plan foresees that EASO strengthens and increases the support already provided but also adds additional support in the field of reception. According to the plan, and in respect of information provision and registration of applications, two information providers should operate in Hal Far and the IRC Marsa together with nine registration assistants and two Member State experts as well as interpreters. Regarding the assessment of first-time applications, there should be 15 caseworkers and 15 Member State experts. The Dublin Unit should be supported by three additional Member State experts.

This new plan not only foresees some support for the screening and referral of vulnerable cases, but also support to establish a Country of Origin Information unit and to enhance a quality control mechanism through the deployment of quality control officers and research officers.  Moreover, in 2020, EASO will gradually support the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers (AWAS) in the management of reception capacity/facilities, vulnerability screening and referral and age assessment. This will be done by deploying social worker experts, vulnerability officers and other experts.

 


[1]  Article 4 Refugees Act.

[2] ECRE, Asylum authorities: an overview of internal structures and available resources, October 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/3b6HZcM, 39.

[3] 2019 Operational and Technical Assistance Plan Agreed by EASO and Malta, 24 June 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/3b8FQ00.

[4] 2020 Operational and Technical Assistance Plan Agreed by EASO and Malta, 12 December 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/3abiYfn.

 

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation