The updated AIDA Country Report on Malta tracks developments relating to the asylum procedure, reception conditions, detention and content of international protection in 2017. Malta received 1,619 asylum seekers in the course of the year, the majority from Syria, Libya and Somalia.
Interview: Following changes in the Refugee Commissioner’s policy, asylum seekers now automatically receive, along with the decision and the interview notes, the assessment memo explaining in details the motivation of the decision. This constitutes a real improvement in the applicants’ rights to access their file and access effective remedy.
Dublin: The Dublin procedure is carried out by the Refugee Commissioner as of 2017. Following an amendment to the Refugees Act in April 2017, appeals against decisions taken under the Dublin Regulation are now possible through the filing of an appeal before the Refugee Appeals Board, which has taken over responsibility from the Immigration Appeals Board.
Accelerated procedure: According to NGOs assisting asylum seekers, the Refugee Commissioner started using the accelerated procedure in 2017 concerning nationals of safe countries of origin, to dismiss their claims as inadmissible.
Detention of asylum seekers
Statistics: Due to the very small number of boat arrivals, the number of asylum seekers detained has remained low. 43 asylum seekers were detained in the course of 2017, and almost all were released after 2 or 3 months following the first review of their detention. According to the authorities, the average period of detention was 56 days in 2017. NGOs remain concerned about access to effective remedy for detained applicants, however.
Initial Reception Centre: The Initial Reception Centre, where irregularly arriving asylum seekers are accommodated for a couple of days upon arrival, operated as a closed centre until September 2017. Following a change in policy it is now an open centre.
Read the full country report here.