Latest data published by the National Statistics Office (NSO) marking World Refugee Day 2020, shows that during 2019, 43 boat landings (including persons air lifted from sea) were recorded in Malta with 3,405 persons being brought to Maltese shores – an increase of 1,960 persons when compared to the previous year. Almost 93 per cent of persons brought to shore were citizens of African countries while the remaining 7 per cent were citizens of Asian countries. The highest number of persons on board were recorded during August with a total of 662 individuals, followed by arrivals in June and September, with 599 and 508 individuals respectively.
A total of 4,090 applications were lodged with the Office of the Refugee Commissioner during 2019 – an increase of 92 per cent over the previous year. When analysing asylum applications in the context of the European Union, Malta ranked second after Cyprus when considering applicants per million population. Most of the applicants were citizens of African countries (80 per cent) with the largest proportion of the total applicants being Sudanese citizens (26 per cent). A further 11 per cent and 6 per cent were Syrian and Libyan citizens respectively. A large proportion of the applicants (71 per cent) were males aged between 18 and 34.
During 2019, the Office of the Refugee Commissioner processed a total of 1,040 applications: 39 per cent were granted a positive decision at first instance, while the remaining applications were rejected. The majority of the applicants who were granted a form of protection status during the year under review were citizens of Asian countries (72 per cent), while a further 27 per cent were citizens of African countries. Of all the applicants granted a form of protection status during 2019, 70 per cent were of Syrian citizenship followed by 15 per cent who were of Libyan citizenship.
An increase of 38 per cent was registered in the resident population of open centres and other institutional households when compared to the preceding year. Just over three quarters of these persons were residing in Ħal Far. A further 213 persons were residing in other institutional households, excluding open centres. Over 85 per cent were males whereas 33 per cent and 16 per cent were Sudanese and Eritrean respectively.
During the year under review, 619 persons were relocated from Malta to another EU+ country, while a further 16 third-country nationals were resettled to countries outside the EU+ group of countries. The majority of those persons relocated were shared between Germany and France with them hosting 42 per cent and 41 per cent of persons respectively.