Withdrawal of protection status

Malta

Country Report: Withdrawal of protection status Last updated: 23/05/22

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According to the International Protection Act, a declaration of refugee status can be revoked by the International Protection Agency in the case where a person should have been excluded from being a refugee in accordance with the exclusions grounds laid down by the Asylum Procedures Directive and transposed in Article 12 of the International Protection Act or where his misrepresentation or omission of facts, including the use of false documents, was decisive for the granting of refugee status.[1]

Additionally, the IPA may also revoke or refuse to renew the protection granted to a refugee when there are reasonable grounds for regarding him or her as a danger to the security of Malta or if, having been convicted by a final judgment of a particularly serious crime, he constitutes a danger to the community of Malta.

The refugee shall be informed in writing that his or her status is being reconsidered and shall be given the reasons for such reconsideration. The refugee shall also be given the opportunity to submit, in a personal interview or in a written statement, reasons as to why his or her refugee status should not be withdrawn.

Regarding subsidiary protection beneficiaries, the International Protection Agency shall revoke or refuse to renew such status if the person, after having been granted subsidiary protection status, should have been or is excluded from being eligible for subsidiary protection or if that person’s misrepresentation or omission of facts, including the use of false documents, were decisive for the granting of subsidiary protection status.

The beneficiary of subsidiary protection will be informed in writing that his or her status is being reconsidered and will be given the reasons for such reconsideration. The beneficiary will also be given the opportunity to submit, in a personal interview or in a written statement, reasons as to why his or her refugee status should not be withdrawn.

In cases where the Agency revoked or refused to renew a refugee or subsidiary protection status, the person is entitled to appeal against the revocation to the IPAT within seven days of the notification of the revocation.[2]

In the case the Agency issued a decision withdrawing the status, the person is entitled to appeal within 15 days.[3]

Regarding beneficiaries of Temporary Humanitarian Protection (THP), the status may be revoked, ended or not renewed whenever the conditions under which it was granted no longer subsist, or if after being granted temporary humanitarian protection, the beneficiary should have been or is excluded from being eligible.[4]

The provisions applicable to the withdrawal of subsidiary protection apply mutatis mutandis to the for beneficiaries of THP. In practice, the IPA will inform the beneficiary that his protection is being reconsidered and given a couple of days to submit a written statement explaining the reasons to why his or her status should not be withdrawn. However, no appeal lies against the decision of the Agency.

In 2020, the IPA withdrew 4 refugee status and 10 subsidiary protection statuses. In 2021, the IPA withdrew 3 subsidiary protection status (the Agency includes the 2 cessations mentioned above) and 71 Temporary Humanitarian Protection status, including 55 protection statuses of Ukrainian nationals. Many of the Ukrainians that saw their status withdrawn subsequently returned to their country before the war broke out. At the moment of writing, their fate remains unknown.

 

Lapse of protection status

Act XL of 2020 amended Article 13 of the Procedural Regulations and added the possibility for the Agency to decide that international  protection  lapsed  where  the  beneficiary  of international protection has unequivocally renounced his protection or has  become  a  Maltese  national. Unequivocal renunciation of protection includes a written statement by the beneficiary confirming that they are renouncing their protection status; or failure to renew international protection within a period of twelve (12) months from the lapse of the validity of said protection or its renewal.

This provision is now included in Regulation 13A of the law since the December amendments.

While the first ground is transposed from the Asylum Procedures Directive (Article 45(5)), the second ground was never foreseen by the Directive.

NGOs have expressed their concerns regarding the alleged unequivocal nature of such act and the consequences it might have on people. No procedural safeguards apply and no appeal can be lodged against the decision of the Agency on this second ground.

Article 13A further provide that beneficiaries who  have  unequivocally  renounced  their  protection must subsequently makes a request in person to the Agency  to  have  their  international protection  status reinstated, the IPA will review the request to determine whether  international  protection  should  once  again  be  granted, provided that the person concerned still meets the eligibility criteria and is not excluded from international protection.

In practice, the IPA treats this application as a new application to International Protection which then forces these individuals back into the lengthy asylum procedure.

NGOs reported that the IPA started to use this provision whenever possible in 2021. The Agency reported having issued 96 of such these decisions, among which 19 lapse of refugee status and 77 lapse of subsidiary protection status.

This provision also applies to beneficiaries of Temporary Humanitarian Protection.

 

 

 

[1] Article 10, International Protection Act.

[2] Article 10(6) and 22 (6) of the International Protection Act.

[3] Article 7 (1A) (c) of the International Protection Act

[4] Article 17A(2) of the International Protection Act.

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