The Procedural Regulations provide for access to social welfare for beneficiaries of international protection. However, the law makes a difference between refugees and subsidiary protection beneficiaries since social welfare benefits granted to the latter “may be limited to core social welfare benefits.”
Refugees are entitled to the same benefits as Maltese nationals, under the same conditions. They are namely entitled to Children’s Allowance, Social Benefits, Pension Benefits, Rent Subsidy, Social Housing and Unemployment Assistance. However, like Maltese citizens, refugees must satisfy the established criteria for each benefit or assistance they apply for. In practice, refugees are rarely able to benefit for Malta’s Contributory Scheme since they are not present in Malta for a suffiicient amount of years to be able to pay the minimum number of social security contrbutions required for some benefits.
Subsidiary protection beneficiaries are, for their part, only entitled to “core welfare benefits” which is interpreted as being limited to social assistance. They are, however, eligible for contributory benefits if they are employed, pay social security contributions and satisfy the qualifying conditions.
The provision of social welfare benefits is not conditioned on residence in a specific place in Malta.
Benefits entitlements fall within the remit of the Ministry for the Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity, whilst social protection and care is provided by the public agency Agenzija Appoġġ. For benefits, beneficiaries may apply to their local social security office or online.
Employment assistance is provided by the public agency JobPlus, and in 2017 this agency extended its services to beneficiaries of subsidiary protection.
Difficulties arise in practice insofar as entitlements are not clear and beneficiaries of international protection are usually very confused about which benefits they could be eligible for. Other persisting obstacles include lack of information and lack of communication with their job advisors.