Number of staff and nature of the first instance authority


Country Report: Number of staff and nature of the first instance authority Last updated: 21/09/23
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?
International Protection Agency (IPA) 21[1] Ministry for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement  Yes   No


The International Protection Agency (IPA) is the authority responsible for examining and determining applications for international protection at first instance.[2] The IPA 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.

The IPA is still far from being able to carry its mission autonomously and, up to the moment, heavily  relies on the support provided by the European Union Agency for Asylum. In 2021, the IPA had only 5 caseworkers in charge of conducting interviews and 3 officials drafting decisions out of the 23 staff total staff employed. This is less than previous years, in 2020, the IPA employed 28 staff, among them 19 are caseworkers. Out of these, 5 were in charge of drafting decisions on asylum applications. At the end 2022, IPA had a total staff of 21 persons: 2 conducing first instance interviews and 4 taking decisions or making final recommendations.[3]

EUAA’s support in asylum application determination amounted to the deployment of 45 staff responsible for examining asylum applications, out of which 17 were conducting interviews and drafting recommendation to the IPA.[4]

In a report published in July 2021, the National Audit Office noted that the IPA was lacking the capacity to expediently address the high number of outstanding applications for international protection and that EUAA’s input in this regard had been a critical factor to minimise application processing time.[5]

The Agency has been supporting the Government of Malta since 2019 with significant increases in support  every year. The provided support included registration of asylum applications, vulnerabiltiy assessments, and first instance interviews and recommendations. It also included structural components, seeking to support the establishment of protocols, SOPs, and units in various entities.

On 16 December 2021, a new plan was agreed for the period 2022-2024. EUAA and the Maltese authorities identified the same needs as for the previous plans, namely, improve the access to asylum procedures, manage the case backlog and improve reception conditions in open centres. Assuming that

the number of arrivals would remain similar to that registered in 2021, the plan also foresees that the Agency may initiate a phasing out exercise from specific support areas (such as decreasing direct support to asylum processing) towards the end of 2022.[6] For the first 18 to 24 months, the plan foresees the deployment of up to 82 staff. It includes 10 registration and front desk personnel, 15 caseworkers, 9 vulnerability assessment officers, 3 social workers and several quality control support officers and team leaders.[7]

Malta has received operational support by the EASO/EUAA since 2019. The 2022-2024 plan was amended in April 2022 to take into account the changes in the operational context in light of the invasion of Ukraine.[8]

In 2022, the EUAA deployed 101 different experts in Malta Operations,[9] mostly temporary agency workers (70). The majority of deployed experts were caseworker assistants (21), registration support (15), caseworkers (14) followed by vulnerability assessors (10), training support officers (3), quality assurance support officers (8) and other support staff (e.g. info providers, COI researchers, Dublin staff).[10]

As of 20 December 2022, there were a total of 54 EUAA experts in Malta, mainly administrative assistants (10) and caseworker assistants (7).[11]




[1] Information provided by the Ministry for Home Affairs via a Freedom of Information Request, on 24 March 2023.

[2] Article 4 International Protection Act.

[3] Information provided by the Ministry for Home Affairs via a Freedom of Information Request, on 24 March 2023.

[4] Information provided by the International Protection Agency, March 2022.

[5] National Audit Office, Performance Audit: Fulfilling obligations in relation to asylum seekers, 7 July 2021, p. 72, available at

[6] EUAA, 2022-2024 Operating plan agreed by EUAA and Malta, 16 December 2021, available at:

[7] EUAA, 2022-2024 Operating plan agreed by EUAA and Malta, 16 December 2021, available at:, 15-19.

[8] EUAA, Operational Plan 2022-2024 agreed by the European Union Agency for Asylum and Malta, April 2022, available at:

[9]  EUAA personnel numbers do not include deployed interpreters by the EUAA in support of asylum and reception activities.

[10] Information provided by the EUAA, 28 February 2023. In the figures above, the same persons may have been included under different profiles, if a change of profile took place in the course of 2022.

[11] Information provided by the EUAA, 28 February 2023.

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