Residence permit

Malta

Country Report: Residence permit Last updated: 19/05/21

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According to the law, persons who are granted refugee status and subsidiary protection in Malta are issued a three years’ residence permit which is renewable.[1]

Once international protection is granted by the IPA, the beneficiary is issued a residence permit by Identity Malta, the public agency in charge of matters relating to passports, identity documents, and work and residence permits for expatriates.

In practice, the issuance and renewal of the residence permits can raise some difficulties for many beneficiaries of protection, mainly due to the lack of provision of practical information, excessive administrative delays in processing applications, burdensome requirements, and a negative attitude by public officials towards beneficiaries.

Very little information is available for protection beneficiaries on the procedures and requirements relating to residence permits. Furthermore, the information provided by state officials is not always provided in a language understood by applicants. The procedure, including requirements, is not clearly indicated, written, or available online.

Usually, applicants are required to wait for a couple of months for their documentation (see below) to be provided. Although a receipt of their application form for residence is provided, this has no real legal value, resulting in persons being unable to access their basic rights due to a lack of possession of their residence papers.

Residence permit applicants are required to present evidence of their protection status, together with evidence of their current address. This latter requirement is particularly burdensome for protection beneficiaries as it is interpreted as requiring them to present a copy of their rent agreement together with a copy of the identification document of their landlords. In the majority of cases, Maltese landlords refuse to provide either rent agreements or personal documentation due to a fear of imposition of income tax on the income deriving for the rent.

Many protection beneficiaries report strong negative attitudes, comments, and behaviour towards them by public officials receiving and handling their residence permit applications. Many persons are ignored, rebuked, dismissed, or otherwise not handled respectfully.

The renewal of residence permits is automatic upon request.

In 2020, protection status documentation renewal was temporary suspended for several weeks with the IPA being closed for several weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The IPA remained responsive over emails even when the office was closed for several weeks, providing standard information on all correspondence, providing guidance and practical information for beneficiaries. Upon request, the IPA would confirm status via email and would inform the relevant authorities including health authorities about entitlement of protection status so individuals could have access to relevant services.

However, these temporary arrangements remained challenging for a number of beneficiaries who do not speak English and who are not in a capacity to access the Internet.

 

[1]           Regulation 20 Procedural 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