General (scope, criteria, time limits)
The International Protection Act provides for a new definition of “inadmissible applications”. The following grounds allow for deeming an asylum application inadmissible:
- Another Member State has already granted the applicant international protection;
- The applicant comes from a First Country of Asylum;
- The applicant comes from a Safe Third Country;
- The applicant has lodged a Subsequent Application presenting no new elements;
- A dependant of the applicant has lodged a separate application after consenting to have his or her case made part of an application made on his or her behalf; and
- The applicant has been recognised in a third country and can avail him or herself of that protection or otherwise enjoys sufficient protection from refoulement and can be readmitted to that country.
The International Protection Act provides that inadmissibility is a ground for an application to be processed under the Accelerated Procedure.
Admissibility decisions generally concern applicants who are beneficiaries of international protection in another EU Member State and applicants who file a subsequent application where no new elements were presented (see Subsequent Applications).
The principles of Safe Third Country and First Country of Asylum are generally not applied by the IPA.
Due to its close proximity to Italy, Malta has always seen individuals granted protection in Italy come and work in the country. However, these individuals generally do not lodge applications for international protection. Malta however regularly receives applications from individuals who were granted international protection in Greece, mostly Syrian nationals who moved in order to join relatives or simply due to the language, which is very accessible for Arabic speakers.
The IPA’s current position on Greece is that beneficiaries of international protection enjoy sufficient guarantees in Greece and therefore all applications lodged by those applicants are generally rejected on admissibility. Following the lodging of their application, applicants are generally not called for an interview and received an inadmissibility decision. The application is therefore processed through the accelerated procedure at the appeal stage and there is no possibility for the applicant to file an appeal. In this context, the concerns expressed in relation to the accelerated procedure are applicable to the admissibility procedure and the conclusions of the ECtHR in S.H. v. Malta will be applicable (see Accelerated Procedure).
A case alleging violations of Article 3, Article 6 and Article 13 of the ECHR was recently filed before the First Hall Civil Court for a Syrian national who was granted protection in Greece.
In 2021, 123 applications were deemed inadmissible by the IPA, 57 on the basis that applicants were already beneficiaries of protection in another Member State and 66 in the context of subsequent applications where no new elements were provided. During the year, 41 new subsequent applications were filed.
The International Protection Act provides that the IPA shall allow applicants to present their views before a decision on the admissibility of an application is conducted. It is assumed that applicants coming from a first country of asylum or a safe third country would be heard during an interview, however as stated above, the IPA generally does not apply these principles. Interviews for applicants already granted protection in another Member State are generally limited to a preliminary interview (i.e., the lodging of the application).
Despite the International Protection Act clearly stating that a personal interview on the admissibility of the application shall be conducted before a decision on the admissibility of an application has been taken, applicants submitting a subsequent application where no new elements were presented are not given the opportunity to be heard during a personal interview. The procedure is in writing only, with the ability for the applicant to present submissions along with the application. In the (rare) event where the subsequent application is deemed admissible, the IPA will interview the applicants on the merits of their case with further questions on the new evidence provided (See Subsequent Applications).
In 2021, the IPAT carried 114 reviews on inadmissible applications, 112 of which were confirmed. When the decision of the IPA is not confirmed by the IPAT, the case is remitted back to the IPA for “further examination”. In practice, the IPA seems to consider this as confirmation that the application is admissible and will proceed with an interview on eligibility.
Article 7(3) of the International Protection Act provides for the right to free legal aid for all appeals submitted to the IPAT. However, as inadmissible applications are automatically referred to the Tribunal in accordance with the accelerated procedure, the appellant is not able to participate in the review or to be represented (See Accelerated Procedure).
 Article 24 International Protection Act.
 Information provided by the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation, January 2023.
 Information provided by the IPA, March 2022.
 Article 24 (3) of the International Protection Act, Chapter 420 of the Laws of Malta.
 Art. 24(2) of the International Protection Act, Chapter 420 of the Laws of Malta.