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. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.
When seeking asylum in Malta, the only place to register an application is the Refugee Commissioner Office, there is where the decision is taken at first instance.
Asylum seekers will complete a preliminary questionnaire which explains their intention to submit an application for asylum, 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 tp six months, depending of the complexity of the case.
A minor seeking asylum is put under the custody of a legal guardians 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.
They are entitled to benefits and pension and can access training programs offered by Job Plus. On average 340€ is paid monthly to a refugee for unemployment benefits. He must sign in at employment office 3 times per week to benefit this help.
After getting protection a refugee can access to information like :
the legal rights and obligations of those with protection
a group meeting is held by AWAS for all new arrivals
AWAS required the residents at the centres to sign a “service agreement” with rights and obligations associated with living at the centres
AWAS provided also an pamphlet with information on rights, obligations and maps of the locations of important offices
Refugees have for free access to state medical services.