The Malta Independent 15 April 2024, Monday
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Migrants living in Malta for years protest for fairness and stability on their residency

Isaac Saliba Sunday, 25 February 2024, 19:07 Last update: about 3 months ago

Migrants who have lived in Malta for a number of years took to the streets to protest for fairness and stability on their residency status in Malta, saying that it was unjust that they have to live in fear of deportation despite living, working, and paying taxes in Malta for several years.

A protest took place on Sunday where dozens of migrants who have been residing in Malta for a long time, including several years, braved the weather and marched from Hamrun Square to Valletta, ending their march and delivered some speeches regarding the issue outside of Parliament.

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The aim of the protest was to call for stability in their lives, as they believe that the ongoing situation of uncertainty is unjust.

Some of the policy changes called for as part of the protest were changes which would see these migrants and their children, who are born in Malta, being granted residency and social rights. The protestors said that they wish to assert their rights and call for the authorities to act, they said that they now call Malta home and are given to right to work legitimately and pay taxes despite not being given protection or residence cards.

They said that although they contribute to Malta’s economic success and have formed part of the workforce, they are still treated with discrimination and live in fear of their documents being withdrawn, which would leave them vulnerable to deportation and general uncertainty about the stability of their lives.

One of the requests presented by the protestors was regarding their children, who they say view Malta as their home and the Maltese culture as their own. They said that their children deserve citizenship and the rights accompanied with it, and that denying such rights is the cause of uncertainty and harms the children by jeopardising their access to education and healthcare.

Children who are born in Malta to parents who do not have residency or asylum do not automatically receive asylum themselves, meaning they face the same difficulties their parents do.

It is not uncommon for individuals who have been denied asylum to be given permission to work in Malta and be required to pay tax and contribute without being eligible for certain benefits themselves.

“We want to get to the promised land,” one of the protestors said, as he continued that they are calling for the Prime Minister, the Home Affairs Minister, the Opposition Leader, and the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, to come to their aid. “We want freedom. If we have been here for so long, we have become Maltese automatically.”

Labour MEP Cyrus Engerer was one of the individuals among the protestors, as he carried a sign which read “Il-liġi għandha tipproteġi lil kulħadd” (The law should protect everyone).

The protest was endorsed by 36 organisations, those being the following;

aditus foundation, Moviment Graffiti, African Media Association Malta, Repubblika, The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation, Doctors for Choice, JRS Malta, Lawyers for Choice, ADPD, Men Against Violence, Blue Door Education, Dance Beyond Borders, Forum Opportunitajiet Indaqs Partit Nazzjonalista, Kunsill Studenti Universitarji, Integra Foundation, Office of the Dean of the Faculty of Education University of Malta, Office of the Dean of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing, Women’s Rights Foundation, The People for Change Foundation, Women for Women Foundation, SAR Malta Network, Sudanese Community Malta, Syrian Solidarity in Malta, Migrant Women Association Malta, Justice and Peace Commission, Young Progressive Beings, Spark 15, #OccupyJustice, SOS Malta, Solidarjetá, Kopin, MGRM - Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement, Drachma LGBTI, Drachma Parents, Allied Rainbow Communities, and Segretarjat Assistenza Socjali (AKM).

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