165 irregular migrants repatriated in 19 months

165 irregular migrants were repatriated between March 2013 and October 2014

A total of 165 failed asylum seekers were repatriated between March 2013 and October 2014.

The information was tabled in parliament by Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia in reply to a question raised by shadow minister Jason Azzopardi.

Last year, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that up to 1,000 migrants in Malta have had their asylum claim rejected.

According to information released by the European Union, 52 irregular immigrants repatriated from Malta between July 2012 and June 2014, cost a total of €93,080.34. This was an average of €1790 per immigrant. Of these total costs, €23,270.08 came from national funds while €69,810.26 came from the European Return Fund.

The EU launched the European Return Fund in 2012 to financially aid EU member states in repatriation exercises. The Immigration Police are obliged to repatriate irregular migrants when they don’t satisfy entry and residential criteria and refuse to voluntarily return to their home countries.

Repatriation costs include flight tickets for the immigrants and their exports.

A previous EU repatriation project took place in Malta between January 2011 and June 2013. This project cost a total of €19,735.96, of which €14,801.97 were co-financed by the European Union.