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Asylum procedure in Malta

Immigrants may go at the Office of the Refugee Commissioner, to inform about their intentions to make an application for international protection.

There are two different types of international protection and one national :

  • Refugee status

  • Subsidiary protection

  • Temporary forms of protection according to the host country, which are humanitarian protection and SRA (Specific Residence Authorization)

Refugee status: procedure for application.

According to UNHCR, a refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence. When seeking asylum in Malta, the only place to register an application is the Refugee Commissioner Office.

Asylum seekers will complete a preliminary questionnaire, then the formal one that is filled with the case-workers during the assessment interview. In case of successful submission of the application, the asylum seeker is given a temporary identification document, while waiting for his application to be processed. It can take up to six months, depending of the complexity of the case.

  • A minor seeking asylum is put under the custody of a legal guardian in charge of directing him in the process.

  • The state education is free and mandatory until the age of 16. Refugees have access to tertiary education. Their previous qualifications may be recognised, if after assessment, they are judged of comparable standard to those required by the University of Malta.

  • Refugees have access to the labour market, they have a work permit matching their residency validity.

Subsidiary protection

The Subsidiary protection status is the international protection for persons seeking asylum who do not qualify as refugees but in respect of whom substantial grounds have been shown, believing that the person concerned, if returned to his or her country of origin, would face a real risk of suffering serious harm. It is a form of temporary protection, subject to revocation if the causes that provoked the displacement disappear.

Persons granted subsidiary protection shall enjoy the right :

  • To remain in Malta with freedom of movement and to be granted personal documents, including a residence permit for a period of one year, which shall be renewable;

  • To be provided with documents which enable him to travel especially when serious humanitarian reasons arise that require his presence in another State;

  • To have access to employment, subject to labour market considerations, core social welfare benefits, appropriate accommodation, integration program

  • State education and training, to receive core state medical care, especially in the case of vulnerable groups of persons. Dependant members of the family of a person granted subsidiary protection. (

Specific Residence Authorisation

The Maltese Government announced on 15 November 2018 the SRA (Specific Residence Authorisation) policy which offers the possibility for asylum seekers to pass from a temporary situation to a more stable one, a policy that respects the principles of “transparency and predictability.”

It's accessible to holders of the Temporary Humanitarian Protection status. It is also accessible to people that cannot be returned to their countries of origin, whose asylum claim had been rejected and who have shown integration efforts during their time in Malta. For this category, they must show evidence that they entered irregularly in Malta before 2016 and that they have been in employment for a minimum of 9 months every year.

Persons who get an SRA will receive :

  • A two years residence permit with possibility of renewal

  • Access to core welfare

  • An employment licence

  • Access to state medical care

  • Education

  • Training

  • A travel document

The goal of this new policy is to reduce the social exclusion of migrants and recognise their efforts into the Maltese society.

Everybody can apply for asylum but not every person will be protected.

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