The Malta Independent 26 May 2024, Sunday
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Over 700 failed asylum seekers live in Malta, some since 2004 - minister

Marc Galdes Tuesday, 21 March 2023, 15:41 Last update: about 2 years ago

738 failed asylum seekers live in Malta, some dating back to 2004, Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri said.

This information was tabled in parliament by Camilleri in response to a question made by PN MP Graziella Attard Previ, asking for the number of failed asylum seekers who have a police card, for information relating to where they are from and how long they have been in Malta.

The figures tabled reflect data collected up to 15 March 2023.

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The failed asylum seekers came from Nigeria and Sudan, with 117 and 103 respectively. Then there were also quite a few migrants from Mali and Ivory Coast, with 86 and 78 respectively.

Overall, failed asylum seekers come from 35 different countries, with most coming from Africa. Two asylum seekers were marked as having no nationality.

The Malta Independent on Sunday had spoken to Aditus director Neil Falzon, who said that around 1,000 rejected asylum seekers are stuck in a legal limbo after a scheme that enabled them to obtain an identity card for a minimum of two years was abruptly stopped, leaving them trapped in a vacuum that exacerbates their already difficult situation.

Camilleri said that these asylum seekers are issued a police card which is extended periodically. Mouhamad Dambele, a rejected asylum seeker who has been in Malta since 2009, said that he is issued a police card, which gives them limited legal representation and needs updating every three months. He says he can’t go back to his country of origin, which is Mali. “We have a problem there, from 2012 till now, the country never calmed down – in reference to the armed conflict that broke out in 2012. For us it’s hard to live there; there’s no chance of going back, certainly at the moment with the military in power. I don’t have documents from here and I don’t have documents from there, so it will be really difficult to deal with this situation," he had said.

In a previous parliamentary address, Attard Previ had brought this up and said that a number of rejected asylum seekers had been in the country for many years, with some residing here for over a decade without having adequate legal protection.

She said Malta accommodates a sizeable number of undocumented persons who do not enjoy full legal rights and who are, consequently, rendered vulnerable to unscrupulous exploitation.

For various reasons, these people are unable to be sent back to their country of origin through no fault of their own, she said.


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