Subsidiary Protection

According to the Malta Refugees Act the Office of the Refugee Commission in Malta may recommend two types of protection:

  • Refugee Status
  • Subsidiary Protection

According to Article 14 (1) (b) of Legal Notice 243 of 2008, a person enjoying subsidiary protection shall be entitled:

  • To remain in Malta with freedom of movement and to be granted personal documents, including a residence permit for a period of one year, which shall be renewable;
  • to be provided with documents which enable him to travel especially when serious humanitarian reasons arise that require his presence in another State (unless compelling reasons of national security or public order otherwise require)
  • to have access to employment, subject to labour market considerations, core social welfare benefits, appropriate accommodation, integration programs, State education and training, and to receive core state medical care, especially in the case of vulnerable groups of persons. Dependant members of the family of a person granted subsidiary protection, if they are in Malta at the time of decision, enjoy the same rights and benefits as the person enjoying subsidiary protection status so that family unity may be maintained.

People with Subsidiary Protection currently enjoy the following rights:


Compulsory free state education up to the age of 16.

May apply to enrol in tertiary education. Overseas qualifications may be recognised, as long as their qualifications are of comparable standard to those required by the University of Malta. Each application is treated on its own merits.


Have access to free accommodation at Open Centres.

Separate open centres are available for unaccompanied minors, vulnerable people, women and families.

Residence permit at open centres must be renewed periodically. Centres vary in terms of how often they require renewal (some as short as 3 months). Renewal is typically automatic as long as have been signing in regularly at centre.

If leave open centre to live independently, are not guaranteed that will be able to return to live in the open centre.

Health Care

Have access to “core” state medical services free of charge.

Currently the government is working on an official entitlement policy for irregular migrants to public health services. Currently irregular migrants are being given the health care required on a humanitarian basis.


May access the labour market, but require work permit to work legally. To acquire work permit, must apply to Jobsplus. Work permits must be renewed every 1 year at Jobsplus. If work permit expires, must re-apply.

May not be eligible for certain jobs (e.g., police, military).

Although must pay tax on wages, do not have access to many employment benefits (including employment insurance and pension).

Have access to employment training programs at Jobsplus.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance of €65.22 is provided every two weeks to those who are not working. To receive assistance, must be registered at an Open Centre and sign in 3 times per week. In exceptional cases, may be able to collect assistance by registering at Ministry instead.

Family Reunification

No right to family reunification.

Freedom of movement

Released from detention when decision granting protected status is issued by the authorities.

Following release, have complete freedom of movement.

Access to information

Upon granting of protection, are provided by RefCom with a copy of Article 14 of the Procedural Standards Regulations, which states the legal rights and obligations of those with protection.

Are informed by RefCom of right to appeal (they must appeal within 15 days), how to appeal, right to legal aid, access to UNHCR, etc.

When are relocated to the open centres, a group meeting is held by AWAS for all new arrivals where they are informed, with the assistance of an interpreter, of the rights and obligations associated with being granted protection and living in the open centres. A pamphlet containing information on the basic rights and obligations, including maps of the locations of various relevant offices, is provided by AWAS. All residents at the centres are also required by AWAS to agree to a standard “service agreement” which outlines the rights and obligations associated with living at the centres. [note: the information above relates to Hal-Far open centre; processes at other centres have not been confirmed]

According to the Maltese Refugees Act all refugees have access to UNHCR for information and guidance.

Rights to court/appeal

May appeal decision to the Refugee Appeals Board within 15 days of the decision.

The Board’s decision is final, except for:

1) Constitutional case based on Article 4 of the European Convention or Article 46 of the Constitution of Malta;

2) Judicial Review on points of law;

3) Subsequent application to the Refugee Commissioner in the case of new evidence.

Judicial Review must be filed within a period of six months from the date received notice of the RAB decision.

Subsequent applications may be made at any time, but within 15 days of the new information being “obtained” by the applicant.

Travel documents

Have the right to be issued an alien passport.

Vulnerable persons

AWAS is responsible for addressing the needs of vulnerables in the asylum procedure.Once released from detention such individuals will be admitted into an open centre.

There are some open centres designed specifically for vulnerable persons, although capacity might be limited.

Unaccompanied children

AWAS is responsible for addressing the identification and support of unaccompanied children in the asylum procedure.

Once released from detention, the minors will be admitted into an open centre. There are some open centres designed specifically for unaccompanied minors. A legal guardian, who is employed at the open centre where the minors are placed, will be appointed to care for the minors.

Minors must attend school up to the age of 16. Once they are over 16 they are legally entitled to work.

Financial assistance of 7?/week is provided to the minors, with a lump sum of around ?70 upon entering the residential home.

Nationality/ citizenship

No right to citizenship.

Children born in Malta are not granted citizenship.

There is no comprehensive integration policy in effect in Malta at this time.


Have access to resettlement, although are not automatically entitled to be submitted for resettlement.

Removal and deportation

Cannot be removed.

The above is a summary developed by UNHCR Malta. Relevant government authorities should be consulted for further details regarding rights and responsibilities.