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Malta: World Refugee Day 20 June 2023

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malta world refugee dayA total of 1,318 applications for international protection (excluding temporary protection) were received by the International Protection Agency during 2022, a decrease of 17.4 per cent over the preceding year.

 Boat arrivals and applications for international protection 

During 2022, 10 boat landings were recorded in Malta, with 445 persons being brought to Maltese shores (including persons air lifted at sea), a decrease of 46.9 per cent when compared to 2021 (Table 1). The majority of persons brought to shore were citizens of Asian countries (90.6 per cent), while the remaining 9.4 per cent were citizens of African countries (Table 2). September saw the highest recorded number of persons being brought to shore, 176 individuals, followed by arrivals in November and August, at 116 and 84 individuals, respectively (Table 3).

A total of 1,318 applications for asylum were lodged with the International Protection Agency (IPA) during 2022 (this excludes applications for temporary protection) – a decrease of 17.4 per cent over the previous year (Table 4). When analysing asylum applications per million resident population across the Member States within the European Union (EU), Malta had the eleventh highest rate per capita within the EU, with Cyprus having the highest number of applications per capita in 2022 (Map 1, Table 6).

Slightly over half of the applicants were citizens of African countries (54.5 per cent). When assessing individual countries of citizenship however, 21.2 per cent of the total applicants in 2022 were Syrian. This was followed by Eritrean and Sudanese citizens, at 8.5 per cent and 7.9 per cent, respectively. Slightly over half of the applicants (56.0 per cent) were males aged between 18 and 34 (Table 5).

Decisions on applications for international protection and appeals 

During 2022, the IPA processed a total of 1,271 applications; 15.1 per cent were granted a positive decision at first instance, while the remaining applications were rejected (Table 7). When compared to the other EU Member States, this ranks Malta second lowest with respect to the share of positive first instance decisions on applications processed in 2022. Estonia had the highest share of positive first decisions at 95.9 per cent with Cyprus having the lowest share of positive decisions at 6.3 per cent (Chart 2).

Of all the applicants granted a form of protection status at first instance during 2022, 45.3 per cent were of Syrian citizenship with a further 40.1 per cent being Eritrean citizens (Table 8). A total of 852 appeals on first instance decisions were filed with the International Protection Appeals Tribunal in 2022, an increase of 16.7 per cent compared to the previous year (Table 9). During 2022, the International Protection Appeals Tribunal processed 421 appeals, of which 417 (99.0 per cent) were rejected (Table 10). Within the EU, Malta had the sixth lowest positivity rate on final instance decisions taken on appeals in 2022. Three countries – Estonia, Luxembourg and Portugal rejected all appeals processed in the reference year while on the other hand Bulgaria accepted all appeals processed. Hungary reported 0 final instance decisions taken on appeals in 2022 (Chart 3).

At the end of 2022, there were 2,974 pending decisions on applications for asylum, a decrease of 25.9 per cent from the previous year. Of these pending decisions, 2,090 were pending a first decision from the IPA and 884 were pending a final decision on appeals filed with the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (Table 11). Of the individuals awaiting a decision, 15.6 per cent were Syrian citizens (Table 12).

Temporary protection

On 4 March 2022, the European Council triggered the Temporary Protection Directive (2001/55/EC), in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The directive allows Member States to grant immediate and temporary protection to residents fleeing the Ukraine as a result of the invasion on 24 February 2022. Since the directive was triggered, the IPA has granted temporary protection to 1,629 persons. May saw the highest number of decisions granting protection at 417, with declining numbers after that, reaching the lowest number in December at 52 (Chart 5).

Since the directive was triggered, there were approximately 4.3 million decisions granting temporary protection within the EU Member States. Decisions granting temporary protection in Poland accounted for 36.2 per cent of the total over the period. When considering the number of persons granted temporary protection per million resident population, Czechia ranked highest while France ranked lowest (Table 13).

As of December 2022, there were 1,516 persons benefiting from temporary protection in Malta, with 99.3 per cent being Ukrainian citizens. Most beneficiaries were female (72.1 per cent) and 30.7 per cent of all beneficiaries were minors aged between 0 and 17. Of the minors who were beneficiaries of temporary protection as at end December 2022, 3.2 per cent were unaccompanied at the time they were granted protection (Table 14).

Open centres and resettlement, return and relocation programmes 

A total of 258 persons were residents at open centres at the end of 2022, a decrease of 64.1 per cent when compared to the preceding year. The majority were residing in Ħal Far (88.0 per cent) (Table 15). Most of the residents were male (80.6 per cent) (Table 16). Syrian citizens made up the highest share of residents at 17.1 per cent, followed by Eritrean citizens at 16.7 per cent (Table 17). During the year under review, 14 persons were relocated from Malta to another EU+ country, while 27 persons were resettled from Malta to a country outside of EU+ States. A further 45 persons benefitted from assisted voluntary return programmes and were returned to their country of origin (Table 18).





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