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. However, even the two centres run by NGOs fall within AWAS’ overall reception system.
- Ħal Far Tent Village:
- Section A: UMAS between the ages of 16 years to 18 years
- Section B: single male adults
- Section C: single female adults
- Hangar Open Centre
- Section A: single male adults,
- Section B: families and single female adults
- Ħal Far Open Centre: Families
- Dar il-Liedna: UMAS under 16 years old
- Initial Reception Centre Marsa: Families, single female adults, UMAS and Vulnerable adults.
- Balzan Open Centre (Church-run open centre): Families and single women
- Migrants Commission (Church-run open centre): Families
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||1,248|
|Ħal-Far Open Centre||128|
|Ħal Far Hangar||746|
|Migrants Commission (apartments)||140|
|Balzan Open Centre||150|
|Initial Reception Centre Marsa||460|
The total reception capacity of the centres is approximately 3338 places (up from 1,500 in 2018). A new Emergency Arrival centre was finished in the first quarter of 2021. At the end of 2021, despite the increased capacity, only 753 persons were accommodated in open centres.
At the end of 2021, the actual occupancy of each centre was the following:
- Dar il-Liedna: 16 UMAS in the process of applying for asylum;
- Ħal Far Tent Village: 254, including 82 UMAS or in the AAT procedure, 164 male adults applicants, 4 THPs and 4 rejected asylum seekers;
- Hangar Open Centre: 238 applicants for international protection;
- Ħal Far Open Centres: 102, including 101 applicants for international protection and 1 THP;
- Initial Reception Centre: 84 in the process of applying for international protection;
- Balzan Open Centre: 57, including 38 applicants for international protection, 3 refugee status, 5 Subsidiary protection, 1 THP and 10 rejected asylum seekers.
Ħal Far Tent Village, the largest reception centre, is divided into three sections, with the larger part dedicated to adult men and the smaller separate sections reserved for single women and UAMs. The latter section is not accessible to adults who cannot enter without authorisation and includes a zone for UMAS confirmed as minors and another called “Buffer zone” for those that are in the AAT procedure. In 2021, AWAS completed refurbishment of a space in the minors’ section, with the intention of using it as a classroom and for other activities. A library was installed, as well as a play station. The room is not accessible to residents all day long; instead, they need to request to use it at the centre office. However, it can be booked by NGOs to run activities.
Ħal 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 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.
AWAS reported that 323 people (321 applicants and 2 subsidiary protection) registered at their Head Office at the end of December 2021 resided in private accommodation.
 Information provided by AWAS, February 2022.