165 detention officials watching over only 12 migrants

165 people employed at Safi and Lyster Barracks detention centres, despite the two centres now only housing 12 irregular migrants

165 people are employed as officials at the Safi and Lyster Barracks detention centres, despite the fact that the two centres now only house 12 irregular migrants.

Home affairs Carmelo Abela told PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami in a parliamentary question that 149 people were employed as detention service officers. A further nine soldiers and seven civilian workers work at the two detention centres.

Since the start of the year, Malta ended its practice of automatic detention of asylum seekers, and introduced alternatives to detention.

Through the reform, any incoming irregular migrants are now accommodated, medically screened and processed in a closed reception centre for up to a week, where they will be informed of their right to apply for international protection. Here, they are also be assessed for vulnerability, and their age is verified. Following this procedure, asylum seekers may only be detained if one of the six grounds for detention set out in EU asylum law is met. Vulnerable people will not be detained, and will instead be accommodated in open centres following their release from the reception centre.

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