The Reception Regulations cover the provision of “material conditions”, defined as including “housing, food and clothing, provided in kind, or as financial allowances or in vouchers, and a daily expenses allowance”.
In practice, asylum seekers in open centres are provided with accommodation and a daily food and transport allowance whereas asylum seekers in detention are provided with accommodation, food, and clothing in kind.
The Reception Regulations specify that the level of material reception conditions should ensure a standard of living adequate for the health of the asylum seekers, and capable of ensuring their subsistence. However, legislation neither requires a certain level of material reception conditions, nor does it set a minimum amount of financial allowance. Asylum seekers living in open centres are given a small food and transport allowance, free access to state health services and in cases of children under sixteen, free access to state education services. Asylum seekers in detention enjoy free state health services, within the practical limitations created by their presence within a detention centre.
Asylum seekers living in open centres experience difficulties in securing an adequate standard of living. The daily allowance provided is barely sufficient to provide for the most basic of needs, and the lack of access to social welfare support exacerbates these difficulties. Social security policy and legislation precludes asylum seekers from social welfare benefits, except those benefits which are defined as “contributory”. With contributory benefits, entitlement is based on payment of a set number of contributions and on meeting the qualifying conditions, which effectively implies that only a limited number of asylum seekers would qualify for such benefits, if any.
AWAS provides different amounts of daily allowance, associated with the asylum seeker’s status:
- € 4.66 for asylum seekers; € 130.48 per 28 days
- € 2.91 for persons returned under the Dublin III Regulation; and
- € 2.33 for children (including unaccompanied minors) until they turn 17.
According to AWAS, any applicant duly registered with the IPA and holding the asylum-seeker certificate can apply to receive the financial allowance, this is granted following an assessment of the applicant’s situation, taking into account vulnerability and financial incomes. As such, applicants who are employed full-time generally will not be granted the financial allowance. The per diem is generally tied to residence in an open centre, yet it is possible for applicants to request to receive the per diem if living in the community.
However, since no information is provided to applicants about this possibility, and since NGOs have limited resources, many applicants were left outside of the reception system and did not benefit from allowances for lack of information or documentation.
AWAS indicated that 350 applicants at the end of 2020 were receiving such per diem. No data was provided for 2021. AWAS also indicated that failed asylum-seekers residing in centres and considered vulnerable might still be entitled to the per diem. The same applies to rejected asylum-seeker pending removal if considered vulnerable. This remains to be confirmed in practice.
 Article 2 of the Reception Regulations, Subsidiary Legislation 420.06 of the Laws of Malta.
 Information provided by AWAS, January 2021.