Access to education


Country Report: Access to education Last updated: 21/09/23

All beneficiaries of international protection are covered under compulsory and free of charge state education up to the age of 16. After secondary school, and after obtaining the relevant and necessary Ordinary Level examination passes, students may enrol for post-secondary education: two years of study in preparation for Advanced Level Examinations. All beneficiaries of protection may also apply to enrol at the University of Malta.

Refugees who are enrolled at higher education institutions (minimum Bachelor level), are entitled to apply for the Malta Government Undergraduate Scheme. The Scheme provides eligible persons with a one-time grant, a yearly grant and ten fixed-rate four-weekly stipends.[1] The entitlements to stipends or other forms of support (e.g. exemption from fees) for beneficiaries of subsidiary protection remain unclear.

The Migrant Learners Unit[2] within the Ministry for Education oversees promoting the inclusion of newly arrived learners into the education system and runs several projects which aim to provide migrant learners in school with further support in basic and functional language learning over and above the teaching provided by the class teacher.

In 2018, Malta introduced the ‘I Belong’ Programme which is also available to beneficiaries of international protection. The initiative consists of English and Maltese language courses and basic cultural and societal orientation as part of the integration process. It is important to note that integration requests are accepted from all persons of migrant background regardless of their grounds of residence. The programme is run by the Human Rights Directorate, within the Home Affairs Ministry.

Additionally, the Human Rights Directorate entered into an agreement with the Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability to provide literacy courses in the Maltese and English languages from January to June 2022. The completion of these courses was intended to facilitate students’ admission into the Stage 1 I Belong Programme.

Jobsplus, the Maltese Public Employment Service, administers an AMIF-funded project Employment Support Services for Migrants. The project aims to improve employment services for migrants by providing courses in basic Maltese, business English, cultural awareness, life skills and work ethics. An addendum was approved for a new initiative aimed at increasing participation in training activities. Thus, in the first quarter of 2022, a training grant of € 4.50 per hour was provided as an incentive to attract more participants for training.[3]

In a recent report, NGOs reported that entitlement to tertiary education is not specified in existing law or publicly available policy for any of the asylum-seeking groups. In practice however, all may apply to follow a course at the University of Malta or MCAST and for all groups, students may apply for a fee waiver. Students at tertiary level may also apply for a student maintenance grant, but this is only granted to individuals with international protection who have been residing in Malta for 5 years or more. Moreover, should the individual with international protection be receiving Social Assistance, this cannot be supplemented with the maintenance grant. Finally, there is once again no specified entitlement for migrants to life-long learning courses in existing law and policy. However, in practice, all migrant groups, regardless of protection status, may apply to follow such courses, as well as for an exemption from payment.[4]

In 2020, 3,456 people applied for the ‘I Belong Programme’, among them, 364 were beneficiaries of international protection and 191 were asylum-seekers.[5] In 2021, 1,909 individuals followed the course, including 102 asylum seeker, 95 failed asylum seeker, 85 beneficiaries of temporary humanitarian Protection, 75 beneficiaries of subsidiary protection and 51 refugees.[6]




[1] Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation, Malta Government Undergraduate Scheme, 2022-2023, available at

[2]  Info on Migrant Learners’ Unit available here:

[3] EMN, Quarterly Bulletin, (January – March 2022), p. 17, available at

[4] JRS and aditus foundation, In Pursuit of Livelihood: An in-depth investigation of asylum-seekers’ battle against poverty and social exclusion in Malta, December 2021, available at

[5] Information provided by the Human Rights Directorate, January 2021.

[6] Information provided by the Human Rights Directorate, March 2022.

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