Types of accommodation


Country Report: Types of accommodation Last updated: 30/11/20


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There are six reception centres in Malta (down from eight in 2017). Of these, four are run by AWAS and the remaining two by NGOs. The latter do, however, fall within AWAS’ overall reception system.

Since the revision of the reception system in Malta, the IRC is now used partly as a closed centre for newly arrivals. The other part remains an open centre.

The 7 open reception centres and their respective capacity are as follows:

Open centre

Maximum capacity

Tent Village Ħal-Far

Ħal-Far Open Centre

Emigrants Commission (apartments)

Peace Lab

Dar il-Liedna

Balzan Open Centre

Initial Reception Centre Marsa

Total capacity



Source: AWAS, January 2019. A breakdown by centre was not available in 2019 but can be found in the previous update of this report.


The total reception capacity of the centres is approximately 2,018 places (up from 1,500 in 2018). At the end of 2018,1,182 (up from 913 in 2017) persons were accommodated in open centres.[1]

At the end of 2019, 520 persons were accommodated in the IRC, 1,120 in Ħal Far Tent Village, 50 at Dar il-Liedna, 117 at Ħal Far Open Centre, 108 at Balzan Open Centre, 200 in apartments run by Emigrants Commission and 45 at Peace Lab.

Some families, single women and unaccompanied children are accommodated in separate open centres although families also often share accommodation with other groups. Foster families are hardly ever resorted to and in such cases these would be processed through the mainstream fostering procedures.

Unaccompanied children are generally accommodated alone, or in a centre where families are also accommodated, although the spaces are kept separate. Regulation 15 of the Reception Regulations specifies that unaccompanied children aged 16 years or over may be accommodated with adult asylum seekers, and, in practice, it has been the case UAMs live in Ħal Far Tent Village. Moreover, severe delays in transferring unaccompanied children from the IRC to open centres have been noted in 2019.

Apart from the above considerations (age, family composition), there are no clear allocation criteria on the basis of which persons are accommodated in specific centres. There does not seem to be a contingency plan for situations of severe over-crowding.

Whilst efforts are made to segregate single women from single men, it is not uncommon for men and women, single or otherwise, to be accommodated in the same centre.

Due to the large numbers of new arrivals, some families and single women were accommodated again in Ħal Far Tent Village. Although they were placed in a sectioned-off area of the centre, the single women lacked privacy and security since they were accommodated in units with unrelated men. In 2019, minors were also accommodated in Ħal Far Tent Village putting them in great danger, as has also been reported by NGOs. Following a JRS Malta intervention, a ‘minor’s section’ was created in Ħal Far in order to isolate them from the rest of the residents[2].


[1] Information provided by AWAS, 7 February 2018.

[2] Information provided by JRS Malta, 2020.


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