Voluntary return programme for failed asylum claimants

Migrants with proven integration and employment record will be granted specific residence permit

A file photo of a group of asylum seekers resettled into France
A file photo of a group of asylum seekers resettled into France

The Maltese authorities will issue a voluntary repatriation option for failed asylum seekers who do not qualify an SRA – specific residence authorisation – which guarantees residence for applicants with proven integration record.

Unsuccessful applicants will be offerred the option return to the country of origin voluntarily through a voluntary return programme, but this does not exclude forced return where applicable, the government said.

The Maltese government is issuing specific residence permits to migrants who were not deported by the State, but who have fulfilled an integration course, and have stable employment and good conduct.

The SRA had replaced the so-called temporary humanitarian protection (THPN) status accorded to asylum seekers who, though not accorded protection by the government, were never returned to their countries of origin.

In 2018 the government stepped in to recognise these migrants’ long-term residence in Malta after a failed attempt at deportation.

Applicants for the SRA will now have to obtain an integration certificate from the Human Rights Directorate (HRD); but those found guilty of an offence and sentenced to a minimum of 12 months’ imprisonment, shall be disqualified from obtaining the status. This also applies in the case of a suspended sentence.

Spouses, partners and minor children who were already in Malta or accompanied the beneficiary at the time of arrival in Malta, shall be granted the status even if they do not qualify for such status in their own right.

Former THPN beneficiaries were given the opportunity to be granted the SRA automatically, provided that they have not been convicted of a serious crime and have a stable employment. Successful applicants will have their status renewed, subject to the fulfilment of the integration measures set out in the 2018 policy. 

Failed asylum seekers who have been living in Malta before 2016 were also given the opportunity to obtain the SRA.