Status and rights of family members


Country Report: Status and rights of family members Last updated: 30/11/20


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As soon as the application for family reunification has been accepted, family members will be authorised to enter Malta and every facility, for obtaining the required visas, will be given to them. In practice, problems in issuing documentation may arise in countries with no Maltese embassies.

The Family Reunification Regulations provide that family members shall be granted a first residence permit of at least one year’s duration which shall be renewable. In the past, the reuniting family members were given a one-year residence document indicating “Dependant family member – refugee”, causing difficulties when public service providers (e.g. hospitals) failed to recognise the holder’s entitlements as being equal to those of his or her refugee sponsor.

Policy has changed in 2016 and reunited family members are now granted a residence permit of three years, with the mention “Dependant family member”.[1]

According to national legislation,[2] family members of refugees or subsidiary protection beneficiaries, if they are in Malta at the time of the decision or if they join the refugee in Malta, enjoy the same rights and benefits as the refugee. As such, the family members of the sponsor have access, in the same way as the sponsor, to education, employment and self-employed activity. While a refugee has access to employment and self-employment without the need for an assessment of the situation of the labour market, said family members are subject to such assessment for the first 12 months following their arrival. They also have access to vocational guidance, initial and further training and retraining.[3]

Family members coming to Malta are barred from applying for international protection in their own name.


[1] Information provided by Mr Ryan Spagnol, Director of Identity Malta, 29 September 2016.

[2] Reguation 20(2)(a) Procedural Regulations.

[3] Regulation 15 Family Reunification Regulations.


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