Freedom of movement


Country Report: Freedom of movement Last updated: 21/09/23

Asylum seekers residing in open centres enjoy freedom of movement around the island(s). All persons living in an open centre are required to regularly confirm residence through signing in three times per week. These signing procedures also confirm eligibility for the per diem (see Forms and Levels of Material Reception Conditions) and to ensure the continued right to reside in the centre. Residents who are employed, and who, therefore, might be unable to sign three times a week, are not given the per diem for as long as they fail to sign. However, JRS reported that people who are working seem not to be eligible to the per diem anymore.

AWAS indicated that they are currently working on a new entry/exit system to manage access to the centres using cards that residents could scan on a daily basis. No further information is available at this stage.

Malta does not operate any dispersal scheme, since residence in open centres remains voluntary. Nonetheless, placement in a particular open centre generally implies a limited possibility to change centre, although such decisions could be taken on a case-by-case basis. Moreover, legislation foresees that transfers of applicants from one accommodation facility to another shall take place only when necessary, and applicants shall be provided with the possibility of informing their legal advisers of the transfer and of their new address.[1] Beyond individual situations, movement between centres is sometimes affected by space considerations. Asylum seekers might be moved from one centre to another in order to maintain security and order within particular centres.

Asylum seekers arriving irregularly by boat are automatically de facto detained under health grounds, until medically cleared by health authorities. In terms of the law, the Government considers this situation not to amount to detention but to a restriction on the freedom of movement necessary to safeguard public health (See Detention).




[1] Regulation 13 of the Reception Regulations, Subsidiary Legislation 420.06 of the Laws of Malta.

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