Integration of migration into Malta's national development plans
Updated: 2 days ago
Photo CC - Flickr/UNHRC
Malta is a small island nation in the Mediterranean Sea that has experienced significant migration flows in recent years. As such, it has recognized the need to integrate migration into its national development plans.
To this end, Malta has developed a comprehensive approach to migration that seeks to ensure the protection of the rights of migrants while also promoting their integration into Maltese society. This approach is based on a number of key principles, including respect for the human rights of all migrants, the importance of multilateral cooperation in addressing migration challenges, and the recognition of the positive contributions that migrants can make to Maltese society and the economy.
In recent years, Malta has witnessed a significant increase in the number of migrants arriving on its shores. According to the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), the number of irregular migrants arriving in Malta in 2020 was more than double that of the previous year. Indeed, according to the UNHCR's data, the number of irregular migrants arriving in Malta in 2019 was 1 544, while in 2020, it was 3 436. This represents an increase of 122%. However, the number of irregular migrants arriving in Malta in 2021 fell to 2 714.
The causes of this increase are complex and multifaceted. On the one hand, Malta is a geographically strategic location for migrants attempting to reach Europe from North Africa. Additionally, the ongoing conflict and instability in countries such as Libya and Syria have created a push factor for migrants seeking safety and security.
For us to have the confirmation of the above, we conducted a street interview in Valletta during which we gave the voice to some migrants coming from Africa, Asia and South America.
It appeared that despite this massive increase, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, migrants rather feel safe and well integrated into Maltese society.
As Abdala, a Somali migrant mentioned "Everything is good here for me because now I have been living in Malta for 5 years, I have a good job, accommodation and I have got used to the country”.
In opposite ways, Jose RAJAN, an Indian migrant, explained that he was very satisfied with the welcome of this country for all, mentioning in particular the hospital services or the education for his child because they are free services. He says precisely "Malta is a free country and accepts everyone. Moreover, it is possible to have many opportunities for work, to create a new life here". He defines Malta as "world's benefits".
As Emanuel SIVILA explained very well, the administrative procedures are relatively simple to come to Malta, compared to other countries for example. "For me it was very easy to come here, in 2 weeks my papers were completed, I then found a job and in 2 days I had signed my contract. "I really like the mentality of the island and their open-mindedness". "They made my life easier".
Most of the people we have interviewed shared certain satisfaction. Nevertheless, not everything is perfect.
But for example, Ibrahim HARUUN, another Somali migrant, talks about not always agreeing with the Maltese authorities despite the security and safety in the island. That is because he cannot bring all his family here and he misses it a lot. Indeed, because of his status and according to Maltese law, it is not always possible to organise family reunification on the territory. But in general "I am still very satisfied with the welcome we have received on the island". "We can feel free to make a new start, both professionally and personally".
Abdala also agrees by saying that integration and inclusion facilities for all refugees in the territory are different.
He explained for example that accessing hospital services on the island was not so easy for everyone, despite the fact that the service is public and free.
From the above, we can describe Malta as a "second chance" for people who have to flee their country or find new opportunities. Services offered are very interesting for them, such as hospitalisation or doctor's fees, access to education with public schools as well as the possibility of finding work.
The feeling of "freedom" and "security" is felt through the collection of information. They are witnesses of a new life experience.
But we also noticed that some of them were worried about telling the truth about the reality. Most of them did not necessarily like to be filmed or recorded for fear of making a controversial statement, or getting into trouble later.
Organisation Internationale pour les Migrations | OIM, ONU (iom.int)
From the “Migration Burden” to Migrants’ Burden: Exile in Malta or the Condition of Inter-jobs | Cairn International Edition (cairn-int.info)