World Refugee Day: 20 June 2017

According to the latest data published by the National Statistics Office (NSO), a total of 1,928 applications for international protection were received by the Office of the Refugee Commissioner during 2016 – an increase of 4.6 per cent over the preceding year. No boat arrivals with asylum seekers were registered during this period.

During 2016, no boat landings were recorded with only 24 persons being airlifted out at sea and brought to Maltese shores. The absolute majority of these persons were citizens of African countries.

A total of 1,928 applications were lodged with the Office of the Refugee Commissioner – an increase of 4.6 per cent over the previous year. When analysing asylum applications in the context of the European Union, Malta ranks fourth after Germany, Austria and Greece when considering applicants per million population. Almost three-fourths of the applicants were citizens of African countries, with over a third (34.5 per cent) being Libyan citizens. A further 17.1 per cent of the applicants were Syrian citizens. A large proportion of the applicants (42.4 per cent) were males aged between 18 and 34.

During 2016, the Office of the Refugee Commissioner processed a total of 1,435 applications: 83.1 per cent were granted a positive decision at first instance, while the remaining applications were rejected. Nearly two-thirds (64.2 per cent) of the applicants who were granted asylum during the year under review were citizens of African countries, while a further 32.7 per cent were citizens of Asian countries. Of all the applicants granted international protection during 2016, 44.5 per cent were of Libyan citizenship while 30.1 per cent were of Syrian citizenship.

An increase of 11.4 per cent was registered in the resident population of open centres and other institutional households, when compared to the preceding year. Just over half of these persons were residing in Ħal Far while 28.4 per cent were living in Marsa. A further 272 persons were residing in other institutional households, excluding open centres. The majority of the residents were males while almost a quarter were of Eritrean citizenship.

Last year, 461 third-country nationals were resettled in another country – a decrease of 19.1 per cent over 2015. Another 14 persons benefitted from assisted voluntary return programmes.