Social welfare


Country Report: Social welfare Last updated: 10/07/24

The Procedural Regulations provide for access to social welfare for beneficiaries of international protection.[1] 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 sufficient number of years to be able to pay the minimum number of social security contributions 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.[2] This is a form of limited unemployment support. 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 various agencies within the Foundation for Social Welfare Services.[3] For benefits, beneficiaries may apply to their local social security office or online.

According to NGOs, for an individual to receive the social benefits they are entitled to, they must be able to provide relevant authorities with a rent contract, residence permit (ID card) and protection certificate issued by the International Protection Agency (IPA). Specific benefits and support schemes might require additional evidence/documentation to be presented for eligibility. In practice, stringent requirements for the issuing of residence permits often result in obstacles to accessing benefits to which beneficiaries of protection are otherwise entitled.[4]

Recent law changes stipulate that THP holders should have access to non-contributory benefits similarly to beneficiaries of subsidiary protection. However, up to mid-2021, JRS reported not being aware of any case where this change was implemented in practice.[5]

Difficulties arise in practice, as entitlements are not clear and beneficiaries of international protection are usually ill informed regarding benefits they are entitled to. Other persisting obstacles include lack of information in languages understood by refugees, and a lack of cultural mediators and/or interpreters across all public services.




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

[2] Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Letter to the Minister for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement of Malta, CommHR/NM/sf 043-2017, 14 December 2017, available at:

[3] See

[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, cited above.

[5] 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, cited above.

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