In the twentieth century, rapid population growth, coupled with periods of economic hardship, resulted in large-scale migration of Maltese to Australia, the United States (US), and Canada. Although some of them eventually came back as retirement returnees in the 80s and 90s, the bulk and their descendants now form a vibrant worldwide Maltese diaspora. Skilled and qualified migration, both incoming and outgoing, became an important phenomenon in the last decades of the twentieth and the first years of the present century. Malta’s European Union (EU) membership during the latter period also brought with it influxes from Eastern Europe and elsewhere, as well as transnational networks of Maltese working in EU institutions. Malta is the smallest EU Member State and the most densely populated one.
The years between 2002 and 2013 were characterized by the onset and exponential increase of ‘boat arrivals’ of asylum seekers and migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan countries. Although the numbers of ‘boat arrivals’ have declined substantially over the recent years, arrivals through other channels continue.
Within this context, IOM has been implementing projects that support the Government of Malta in migration management. These include resettlement, relocation and assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) programmes, counter-trafficking projects, as well as initiatives in the field of integration.
Movement, Emergency and Post-crisis Migration Management
The United States Refugee Admissions Programme (USRAP) entails the processing of refugee cases referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The principal donor is the United States (US) Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. IOM Malta, within the Resettlement Support Centre (RSC) Eurasia, is responsible for the preparation of refugee cases, arrangements for interviewing and fingerprinting missions, and pre-departure procedures (including medical checks, travel arrangements and cultural orientation) once the applicants are accepted as refugees by the US.
Recently, IOM has also supported the efforts and commitments of the Government of Malta, through facilitating the relocation of asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to Malta within the framework of the EU Relocation Programme, and the resettlement of beneficiaries of protection from Turkey to Malta in line with the EU-Turkey Agreement. Previously, IOM was also involved in the relocation and resettlement of refugees from Malta to other EU Member States, Norway, Switzerland, Australia and Canada (through the two phases of the EUREMA project, as well as in accordance with bilateral agreements with respective receiving countries or on an ad hoc basis). In these cases, IOM Malta was responsible for the pre-departure procedures, often including cultural orientation.
- United States Refugee Admissions Programme (USRAP)
- EU Relocation Programme: Relocation from Italy and Greece to Malta
- Providing refugee resettlement assistance to the Government of Malta: Resettlement from Turkey to Malta
- EUREMA: Pilot project for intra EU relocation ex Malta (phases I and II)
- DERE: Reallocation of persons with international protection from Malta to Germany 2011
- Relocation/resettlement in accordance with bilateral agreements with receiving countries.
With the aim of both, supporting the Government of Malta in the development of an integrated, harmonized and sustainable return policy, and assisting migrants in Malta who often find themselves in difficult situations, IOM Malta has been actively working in the area of assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR).
Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration in the Country of Origin – RESTART VI, part-financed by the EU under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF 2014-2020) (75%) and by the MHAS (25%), is a continuation of five consecutive AVRR projects implemented by IOM Malta, in cooperation with the MHAS, between 2009 and 2015 (RESTART, phases I-V). To date, nearly 300 persons have been assisted to return from Malta, mostly to sub-Saharan African and Asian countries.
The three-year RESTART VI project (2016/07 - 2019/06) provides tailor-made assisted voluntary return and reintegration schemes to up to 170 third-country nationals, including vulnerable persons, who belong to the target group and who express their free will to return to their respective countries of origin.
IOM Malta’s activities within the framework of RESTART VI address all stages of the voluntary return process and consist of outreach, information dissemination, counselling, pre-departure assistance (travel arrangements, including facilitation of issuance of travel documents, purchase of flight tickets, arrangement of transit and arrival assistance and medical escorts, if needed), departure assistance, and provision of tailor-made reintegration packages to support returnees’ re-establishment in their countries of origin. Whenever feasible, reintegration monitoring is also carried out.
With the overall objective of increasing awareness of the challenges and potentials linked to AVRR, enhancing the effectiveness of the AVRR process in all its dimensions and effectively contributing to the sustainability of returns, IOM Malta has also implemented projects aimed at strengthening cooperation between relevant Maltese authorities and their counterparts in sub-Saharan African countries. The following projects funded by the European Return Fund and the MHAS have been successfully completed in this area: ‘Cooperation between Malta and African Countries to Enhance Migration Dialogue and Development’ (CoMAM, phases I and II), ‘Enhanced Cooperation between Malta and Migrants’ countries of Origin: Lessons Learned and Sharing of Experience with Other European Countries’.
IOM has also successfully implemented four projects in the field of counter-trafficking in Malta since 2011. The key results achieved under these projects were: a national referral mechanism (NRM) was established in Malta; the capacities of governmental and civil society actors as well as law enforcement agencies in identifying cases of trafficking were enhanced; standard operating procedures (SOPs) to refer trafficking cases were elaborated; a public information campaign was carried out (TV spot in English and Maltese; information materials targeting actual and potential victims of trafficking); a support tool for service providers was developed; refresher training for NRM stakeholders, training for Community Outreach Centres, training for diplomatic and consular staff of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Malta were carried out; leaflets in 5 languages targeting potential victims of trafficking were developed and disseminated through relevant Embassies/Consulates; in-depth analysis of trafficking in persons case-law and related crimes as dealt with by the Maltese court system were carried out; main trends within the system were identified; training modules were developed; trainings to judges and magistrates as well as the Attorney General’s Office and the Vice Squad, with a focus on enhancing the protection of victims of trafficking, were carried out; training modules were adapted and trainings were provided to frontline officers (Police, Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers (AWAS), Office of the Refugee Commissioner, Appogg).
- Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration in the Country of Origin – RESTART VI (completed projects: RESTART I, RESTART II, RESTART III, RESTART IV and RESTART V)
- Enhanced Cooperation between Malta and Migrants’ Countries of Origin: Lessons Learned and Sharing of Experience with Other European Countries
- Cooperation between Malta and African Countries to Enhance Migration Dialogue and Development (CoMAM, phases I and II)
- REINTEGR-ACTION: Pilot Initiative to Test Feasible and Sustainable Joint Reintegration Measures from the EU
- Assistance in the Identification of Victims of Trafficking (VoTs)
- Improve Quality of Prosecution and Presentation of Victims of Trafficking through the Justice System in the Republic of Malta
- Looking Beneath
- Launching Initiatives Supporting Malta’s Efforts to Suppress Trafficking (LIMES)
IOM has been active in the field of migrant integration and inclusion in Malta since 2010, supporting the Government in intercultural initiatives and assisting with addressing the integration needs of migrants in Malta.
‘TandEM: Towards Empowered Migrant Youth in Southern Europe’ is a two-year (2018/01 – 2019/12) regional project implemented in Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain and targets migrant youth in formal and non-formal learning contexts, emphasizing youth’s multiple forms of identification to combat prejudice, intolerance and exclusion. This is funded by the European Commission’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and for this project, IOM is partnering with the European University Association (EUA) and the Comunità Religiosa Islamica Italiana (COREIS). The general objective of the project is to foster the active engagement of young third country nationals and their Southern European peers in building more inclusive societies. The project will see the development of regional and national social media campaigns, the undertaking of a regional study on the barriers to access higher education, the organization of interreligious dialogues, and in Italy and Spain, the organization of pilot student mentorship programmes.
‘ADMin4ALL – Supporting Active Inclusion of Disadvantaged Migrants in Europe’ is a two-year (2018/05 – 2019/04) regional programme implemented in Italy, Austria, Poland, Romania, Greece, Malta and Spain. It aims to enhance the capacity of local governments to develop sustainable strategies and inclusive services for the successful social and economic integration of migrants from disadvantaged backgrounds. This is funded by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion. The main objective of the programme is to increase the capacity of municipal administrations and other service providers at the local level, with particular attention to their front-line staff, in dealing with the multiple dimensions of long-term socio-economic inclusion of migrants and refugees at the local level. This will be done through the delivery of a series of trainings and peer mentoring activities, followed by international exchanges among participating cities focused on identifying and sharing good practices in providing accessible and effective social services to migrants. Finally, through a series of local capacity-building activities the project aims to promote partnership approaches, and strengthen local coordination, on migrant integration among various public, private and non-profit stakeholders.
The project ‘MIG-H Training: Development of specific training modules for health professionals, law enforcement officers and trainers, on migrants' and refugees' health, addressing communicable diseases and mental health problems’ is a regional project which aims to enable frontline health, police and other professionals to develop key competences, which can support them in providing more appropriate health care to migrants and refugees. This project is funded by the European Commission’s Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA), and is managed by Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), in patnership with IOM, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER). This project will see the review of existing evidence and training programmes on migrants’ mental health and risks for communicable diseases from EU Member States, Iceland, Norway, Serbia and Moldova, the development of training materials and the preparation of a training programme, the training of trainers in Athens followed by pilot training programmes in the participating countries, and the dissemination of the results including through a workshop and report.
Past projects in the field of integration in Malta have seen IOM work with the Government of Malta, migrant communities and other stakeholders to undertake a number of activities, including: carrying out information and orientation sessions, language courses, and sport and recreational activities to migrants in closed and open centres; engaging in the creation of a virtual one-stop Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) that provided initial counselling and facilitated referrals to relevant agencies and delivering an inception report for the future establishment of a physical one-stop MRC; providing face-to-face and on-line trainings on intercultural knowledge and competences to strengthen the capacity of public service providers; carrying out research activities and in-depth comparative assessments of integration measures in Malta and other EU Member States with the aim of supporting the integration of migrants with a specific focus on labour and family migration, the results of which were presented during two Pan-European Conferences, with the participation of representatives from local and national governments of different EU Member States, social partners and the civil society.
- MIG-H Training: Development of specific training modules for health professionals, law enforcement officers and trainers, on migrants' and refugees' health, addressing communicable diseases and mental health problems
- ADMin4ALL – Supporting Active Inclusion of Disadvantaged Migrants in Europe
- TandEM: Towards Empowered Migrant Youth in Southern Europe
- Mainstreaming a Common Model of Intercultural Competence for Integration Process of TCNs
- Supporting TCNs’ Integration through Enhancing Their Awareness on the Maltese Legal and Social Contexts
- Pan-European Conference (II): Integration of Immigrant Spouses and Children
- Promoting the Integrity of Recruitment and Employment of TCNs in Malta
- Toward Effective Integration Support to TCNs in Malta: Inception of a One-Stop Migrant Resource Centre
- Pan-European Conference – Work: A Tool for Inclusion or a Reason for Exclusion?
- Consultative Assessment of the Integration of Third Country Nationals
- Supporting Open and Closed Reception Systems in Malta by Profiling, Action Research and Knowledge Transfer – SPARKLET
Main text: May 2018
Facts and figures: February 2016