The Malta Independent 18 November 2018, Sunday

Watch: Migrants protesting in Valletta demand benefits, pensions

Wednesday, 16 March 2016, 10:22 Last update: about 4 years ago

The migrant community has organised a “peaceful and respectful” protest to raise awareness on discrimination in documentation and legal status.

The protest is being organised by the African Media Association, an NGO representing the migrant community.

Ahmed Nuur Ibrahim, project leader of the African Media Association explained that although many migrants have been working, paying their taxes and their social security contributions, they are not awarded certain rights such as receiving a pension. One particular protestor, who chose to remain anonymous, said that he had been working in Malta for 15 years, under his subsidiary protection status. He said that although he has been paying his taxes for 15 years lake any ordinary citizen, he will not be receiving a pension once he reaches retirement age.

Protesters also questioned why they are not awarded free education when they are paying their taxes. One particular man said that it is very difficult to integrate fully and make a more concrete contribution to society when him and his family have no access to education.

The protestors said only five per cent of asylum seekers were granted refugee status in the past 12 years, with the rest granted alternative status. Those not classified as asylum seekers were paying social security and taxes once in employment but were not eligible for the same benefits as other working citizens.

Roughly 100 migrants joined in Valletta for the protest, walking through Republic Street and winding up at Castille. They chanted "change the system!"

“In particular they are not accumulating any pension rights, which is creating a worrying problem for the future,” the protestors said in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

 

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