There are seven reception centres in Malta (down from eight in 2017). Of these, five 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 capacities are as follows:
|Open centre||Maximum capacity|
|Tent Village Ħal-Far||1,232|
|Ħal-Far Open Centre||670|
|Hal Far Hangar||128|
|Migrants Commission (apartments)||140|
|Balzan Open Centre||150|
|Initial Reception Centre Marsa||431|
Source: AWAS, January 2021.
The total reception capacity of the centres is approximately 2,800 places (up from 1,500 in 2018). No new centre was built but capacity of existing ones was further increased. At the end of 2020, around 2,000 persons were accommodated in open centres.
At the end of 2020, around 150 persons were accommodated in the IRC; 1,064 in Ħal Far Tent Village; 41 at Dar il-Liedna; 447 at Ħal Far Open Centre; 119 in Hal Far Hangar; 114 at Balzan Open Centre; and 140 in apartments run by Migrants Commission.
Hal Far Tent Village, the largest reception centre, is now divided into two sections, with the larger part dedicated to adult men and a smaller separate section reserved for UAMs. The latter section is not accessible to adults who cannot enter without authorisation.
The Hal Far Hangar Centre hosts families. Hal Far Open Centre has two sections, one for adult men and the other for single women without children and for families. These two sections of the centres are separated, and men cannot enter the section for women and families.
Unaccompanied children are generally accommodated alone, or in a centre where families are also accommodated, although the spaces are kept separate. They now mainly live in the designated part of HTV or at Dar il-Liedna. 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, this has been the case for UAMs living in Ħal Far.
AWAS indicated that vulnerable applicants and UAMs are usually accommodated near the Administration Block of each centre in order for them to have an easier access to the staff and services offered.
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.
 Information provided by AWAS, February 2021.