Photo CC - Flickr/UNHRC
Malta has experienced significant migration flows in recent years and has developed a comprehensive approach to migration that seeks to ensure the protection of the rights of migrants while also promoting their integration into 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.
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. In 2019, there were 1 544 arrivals, while in 2020, it was 3 436.
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.
We conducted a street interview in Valletta during which we gave the voice to some foreign nationals coming from Africa, Asia and South America. It appeared that despite this increase, migrants rather feel safe and well integrated.
As Abdala, a Somali migrant mentioned, "everything is good here for me. I have been living in Malta for 5 years, I have a good job, accommodation and I have got used to the country”.
Jose RAJAN from India, explained that he was very satisfied overall, mentioning in particular the health services or the education for his child, as they are free services. He said that "Malta is a free country and accepts everyone. There are many opportunities for work, to create a new life here".
Emanuel SIVILA from Argentina testified that the administrative procedures are relatively simple to come to Malta, compared to other countries for example: "for me", he said, "it was very easy to come here, in two weeks my papers were completed, I then found a job and in two days, I had signed my contract. I really like the mentality of the island and their open-mindedness".
Most of the people interviewed expressed a certain satisfaction, but not everything is perfect.
Ibrahim HARUUN, a refugee from Somalia, while mentioning his appreciation in regard to the security that Malta offers, denounces the fact that he cannot invite his family to join him. Because of his status ( holder of Subsidiary Protection), according to Maltese immigration law, he is not entitled to family reunification.
For Abdala, services such as health should be free for everyone, not only to specific category of foreigners.
Malta looks like a "second chance" for people who have to flee their country or find new opportunities. Services offered are very interesting for them, such as health, education and employment.
The people interviewed who refused to show on camera were worried about making a controversial statement.