Duration of detention


Country Report: Duration of detention Last updated: 21/09/23

The Reception Regulations specify a time limit for the detention of asylum seekers, which is limited to nine months. According to the Regulations “any person detained in accordance with these regulations shall, on the lapse of nine months, be released from detention if he is still an applicant”.[1]

The PIO indicated that the average duration of detention for asylum-seekers was 65 days in 2021.[2] This only takes into account individuals issued with a Detention Order. As such, people detained under the public health legislation are not accounted for by the PIO. Applicants detained under the Prevention of Disease Ordinance used to remain in detention for several months even though they have been medically cleared. 2022 saw some positive improvements with a reduced period spent under the Ordinance, lasting on 2 to 3 weeks on average.

The duration of detention under health grounds and under the Reception Regulations has substantially decreased and applicants are generally no longer detained beyond the prescribed limits. However this positive improvement is likely to be linked only to the decrease in arrivals, consequential to the increase in pushbacks and refusals to intervene.




[1] Regulation 6(7) of the Reception Regulations, Subsidiary Legislation 420.06 of the Laws of Malta

[2] Information provided by the Immigration Office of the Malta Police Force, February 2021.

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