Health care


Country Report: Health care Last updated: 10/07/24

Refugees have access to state medical services free of charge. They have equal rights compared with Maltese citizens and are, therefore, entitled to all the benefits and assistance to which Maltese citizens are entitled to under the Maltese Social Security Act,[1] as defined in the Procedural Regulations.[2] Access to medication and to non-core medical services is not always free of charge, in the same way as it is also not always free of charge for Maltese nationals. All low-income individuals may be given a Yellow Card to indicate entitlement to free medication. The main public mental health facility, Mount Carmel Hospital, also offers free mental health services to refugees. Beneficiaries of subsidiary protection are only entitled to core medical services according to national legislation and guidelines provided by the authorities.[3]  Furthermore, NGOs report that all third-country nationals are entitled to full access to public health services if they are able to present at least 3 most recent payslips to the hospital payment desk.

In practice, specialised treatment for victims of torture or traumatised beneficiaries is not available. As no special referral system is in place, when officers come across someone who was tortured and is in need of assistance, they refer the individual to national mental health services and to the psychiatric hospital for in-depth support. The NGO Richmond Foundation provides mental health support, on a referral basis. Since the organisation’s services are largely based on a public service agreement with the Government, referrals need to be of persons having access to social support. Nonetheless, NGOs report that free services are occassionaly also provided by the NGO. JRS Malta also provides psochological supprot to persons referred to the organisation, whilst in 2022 the Migrant Women Association (Malta) started offering support to women.   NGOs report coming across several people who ahve suffered torture and various forms of extrememt violence, including sexual violence. Long-term support is extremely difficult to secure and where the impact impedes access to employment, victims tend to struggle due to the limited available financial and other support.

Incidents of neglect have been reported to happen, including in 2022. The African Media Association Malta reported the death of a 22-year-old migrant after she was allegedly refused hospital treatment. Her relatives testified to her repeated experience of negligence at the Mater Dei emergency room, and the police opened an investigation to determine the exact cause of her death. MaltaToday reported that a Somali man who was reported missing had died in a hospital after suffering serious injuries at work. His identity had not been established until nurses identified him from a photo issued by the police. When the police issued the missing person report, social media were flooded with racist jokes and abusive comments celebrating the man’s disappearance, according to Lovin Malta, which were condemned by the Minister for Inclusion and the Equality Minister.[4]




[1] Social Security (U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees) Order, Subsidiary Legislation 318.16, 2001, available at:

[2] Regulation 20 Procedural Regulations, Subsidiary Legislation 420.07 of the Laws of Malta.

[3] Regulation 20 Procedural Regulations, Subsidiary Legislation 420.07 of the Laws of Malta.

[4] FRA, Migration: Key fundamental rights concerns, quarterly bulletin October – December 2021, available at:, 30.

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