Asylum Seekers: a humanitarian Approach

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Asylum Seekers: A Humanitarian Approach
Jadia Beckius

Bethany Maxfield

James Morrissey

Gretchen Wendleberger

James Madison University

Dr. Judith Rocchiccioli

Summer 2010


The turn of the twenty first century has brought on dreams of a globalized world; through technological advancements people from around the planet have envisioned opportunities to achieve and succeed. These opportunities have inspired person of all races and ethnicities to migrate from their home country. The atrocities these individuals face in their home countries have forced many to seek a more privileged life in other lands. The onset of civil wars, governmental instability, and radical religious motives can destroy the infrastructure of a society. Variable factors as such have left millions in impoverished conditions and unsustainable economies. The yearning for a better life have driven many persons to migrate; the effects of migration and cultural clashes can be seen in every emigrant society. These individuals who leave their home lands in search for prosperity are termed immigrants. The act of immigration to or through another country can be categorized in two separate forms- legal or illegal asylum seekers. The majority of the media coverage concerning immigration concentrate their attention on the acts of illegal immigrations. Currently, man countries have faced sorrowing challenges for adopting these individuals and assimilating them into the culture of the new society. Many of these countries who face these adaptations are first world nations. States such as the United Kingdom, United States, France, Malta, Italy, and Spain have been experiencing an influx number of irregular asylum seekers. Forced o act, many of these nations have been teetering with the ideals of human rights while treating these individuals. However; these policies and programs must be questioned and investigated to ensure human equality. The focus of the following research will examine Malta’s irregular immigration processes and policies. Malta, being located in a strategic medium in the Mediterranean, has been the first encounter for illegal migrants. This issues of dealing with such people have placed a burden on the Maltese economy and cultural heritage. However, like may other nations, the treatment for these individuals has insufficiently met their needs concerning health and quality of care.

History of Immigration
In the last decade Malta has seen a shift and rise of people coming into Malta. In the early 20th century there was an increase in Maltese emigration after War World II. This time was also known as the “Great Exodus “. Between 1946-1974 Malta saw a total emigration of 138,000 people leave the tiny island of Malta. Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US were the four main countries Maltese migrated to (King & Thompson, 2008).
In 1975 Malta saw a decrease in emigration and an influx in immigration. During this time period Malta had yet to face the problems they currently struggle with upon illegal immigration. The three main groups of immigrants included British settlers, Indian traders and Libyan teachers. The British settlers were attracted due to the low income tax rate and the extended involvement within the Maltese culture. The Indian Traders were attracted to the stimulating growth of the Maltese economy. The Libyan connection derived from the Mintoff era (1970s). This era is named after their Prime Minister of the time who began trading relations with china, Libya, and Eastern Europe. Quite apart from the reluctance of many Maltese to learn Arabic, tensions arose because of this migration, stemming from the changed political landscape under Mintoff and the alleged criminal behavior of some visiting Libyans in the 1980s. These tensions have evidently shaped Maltese attitudes towards recent migrants (King & Thompson, 2008).
More recently Malta has seen a large influx of immigrants, there was a total of twenty one boats who deposited 1, 686 illegal immigrants. These people were coined the “boat people” traveling from North Africa that included common nationalities of people such as Egyptians, Sudanese, Ethiopians, Eritreans, and Somalis (King R., 2009). From 2003 to 2007 the influx of immigrants tripled from 502 to 1,780 (Kroeger. 2007). By 2008 84 boats came from North Africa bringing 2775 people. This was the peak and by 2009 the EU declared Malta a closed country not allowing any boats to come into the country. In 2010 the country has seen seldom attempts and currently there is a decreasing number of people housed in closed centers.
In the last decade Malta as a country has been unexpectedly bombarded with immigrants. As a country Malta did not have the adequate resources, space, or supplies to contain as many people that have entered into the country. Malta in partner with the EU has had to think on their feet and establish a structured way to organize immigration while immersed in the problem.
When an immigrant comes into Malta they’re detained for up to 18 months while they wait for they status hearing. The hearing can decide if the person is one of four statuses. A refugee, subsidiary protection, irregular migrant, or temporary humanitarian protection are all possible. A refugee is a person who is granted status to remain in Malta with freedom of movement, renewable resident documents, and access to anything a Maltese resident would have. Subsidiary protection status is much broader, it was introduced in 2008 and provides people with temporary humanitarian protection and intended for people who cannot return safely to their native country. An irregular migrant status is determined if the previous are not given. In extra ordinary cases temporary humanitarian status is given when none of the above statuses are met but the person needs special protection.
Closed and Open Centres

While waiting for their hearing, migrants are detained in closed centres or detention centres. These centres are not open to the public and rarely have any outsiders seen the conditions. These centers can be compared to prisons. They’re housed in deserted areas around the island. The centres are divided into mainly into single men, single women, and families. The most common and largest closed centre accommodates single men. Migrants are not allowed to leave until the closed centre until their status hearing. This time period can range anywhere from 3-18 months at a time. The process is sped up usually for a family or pregnant woman. If an immigrant isn’t deported which is rare, they’re allowed to live in one of the open centers.

Open centres are places where immigrants can live and become independent. If migrants are granted subsidiary or refugee status they’re given a stipend from the government. However many migrants do not receive a stipend or resources to find adequate jobs therefore making living conditions difficult. There are 10 open centre’s in Malta, 7 of them are run by AWAS. Open centre’s are broken up and divided similar to closed centre’s including families, single mothers, men, minors under 16, minors 16-18. The open centre’s provide minors with food but do not for the families. The centre’s also make an effort to immerge the migrants into Maltese culture by encouraging them to learn English, get a job, and become independent from government support. Because these centres’s were originally establish in a crisis management state, these centre’s need to begin to shift from crisis management or the immigrants to management.
Environmental Issues

Housing migrants in closed centers for a prolonged period of time questions their rights as humans. Barely anyone has been in these centers but the few who have recall major disturbances. An international fellowship of reconciliation group visited Safi Centre, the closed centre near the Malta airport. The Safi centre also known as a prison consists of overcrowded bedrooms and facilities in run down conditions. The migrants are in close proxemics of each other in poor living conditions. Refugees are treated like prisoners instead of real people (Woske, 2009).

Health Issues of Migrants

Migrants are detained for extended periods of time making living conditions extremely harsh. When migrants come into Malta they’re immediately screened for TB and infectious diseases however there are no known tests for STIs or HIV. Being closed in close proxemics with other migrants becomes a major health epidemic. The Jesuit Refugee Service group is the only known group to have full access to the closed centres (Woeske, 2009). They give migrants legal advice but are very overwhelmed with the number of migrants. Because there are not enough resources or employees to process the migrants they’re faced to remain in the poor conditions of the closed centres. Not only physiological but mentally the closed or detention are draining to the migrants. Being confined to one space in an over crowded, dirty, and foreign place results in many problems. Instead of being treated like humans, migrants are treated more like caged animals.

The open centres allow migrants to roam freely and enter into an independent state. They’re provided with all the necessities and sometimes a stipend to live on. The open centres also provide immersion programs such as access to language schools, job searching networks, and healthcare programs. Maintenance of healthcare needs to be addressed within these centres. In order for Malta to shift from crisis management to management of the migrants, developed health promotion programs need to be ongoing and provided to these open centers.

Economic Impact

A huge concern with an influx of persons into an area is resource management. Malta currently ranks very low on the sustainability scale and officials report that the flood of immigrants is swamping Malta’s resources. To counteract this problem Malta has been allocated over 126 million in funds to spend from 2007 to 2013 in the field of asylum, immigration and borders; 24.4 million in 2007, 32.5 in 2008 and 18 million each year until 2013. So far Malta has only spent 18 million of this aid money (Sammut, 2009).

The Maltese Government offers free accommodations, such as a food allowance and transport for the unemployed, for asylum seekers and refugees. Persons with temporary humanitarian protection and asylum seekers who are waiting for a reply are given 4.65 a day.  Where as those who have been rejected receive 3.5 per day. Couples with children receive 2.33 for every child. Permission to remain in a open center is limited to a maximum of six months, after all benefits and per diem allowances are suspended (Sammut, 2009).

Those with refugee status receive weekly social security benefits, which amounts to 81.20 plus 8.14 for every dependent, for one year. Upon employment social security benefits and allowances are stopped. All allowances, social security benefits and rent subsides given to refugees are taken from government budgets. All immigrants, independent of their status, are entitled to free health care (Sammut, 2009).

Health Impact of Migrants on Maltese Population

There are many health concerns for irregular immigrants because of harsh living conditions and close quarters. Upon entry to the country irregular immigrants are screened for Tuberculoses via chest x-ray; however, they are not tested for Hepatitis B or HIV, which is common in this population. Reactivation of disease from old age and physical stress of the journey also frequent (Ellul, 2010). These concerns can also be passed onto the native Maltese population. Diseases and other illnesses can be spread very easily on a small island because of its population density; global health challenges such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic, SARS, the re-emerging of tuberculosis, avian influenza, or H1N1 can apply to any population (WHO, 2010). Vaccination records are often incomplete or unknown leaving the mainland population at risk for communicable diseases; making Malta a vulnerable population.

Feelings of Maltese Population

Many Maltese consider immigration a national crisis; however the majority of people do not know how many immigrants have left the country. They believe irregular immigrants are criminals and there is a growing problem of xenophobia. This strong Roman Catholic nation feels threatened by an invading culture and religion that is different from their own (Debono, 2010). In a survey conducted by MaltaToday 25.3% of people are concerned that Malta is being “invaded” or “swamped” by illegal immigrants. A further 21.3% believe that Malta does not have sufficient space to accommodate migrants.

The survey also showed that the majority of people believe there are more immigrants in Malta than in actuality. Among other complaints 32% of respondents think that immigrants are taking Maltese jobs. Many voice concerns that immigrants are receiving their hard earned tax dollar and are unemployed. Some even feel that irregular immigrants should receive no aid at all. Fear of contagious diseases is also cited as a major concern by 28.3% of respondents. In a survey conduced by James Madison University 94% of Maltese reported that immigration is a problem in Malta; 63% of Maltese respondents reported that asylum seekers should be locked up in detention camps. Even more shocking 28.5% of Maltese respondents reported that asylum seekers should be sterilized upon entry to the country.
Migration in Politics

Immigration policy is a highly debated topic in government. Immigration has caused many of the political parties to conform with the same thoughts of anti-immigration. The thoughts have gone from sympathy for the migrants in 2001 shifting to contempt and comparing the migrants to a jelly infestation (Falzon & Micallef, 2008). New far right parties have emerged as a result of the dispute and are gaining support. These parties are extremist whose main campaign strategy is anti-immigration. Norman Lowell, a far right individual, support has doubled in the last five years for his Imperium Europa party. Lowell has been convicted on charges of inciting racial hatred (Debono, 2010). Such strong influence from politics is further fueling the racial fire.

Humanitarian Issues

In the Constitution of Malta, Chapter 1 Section 2 states that the national religion in the country is Roman Catholic. Statistics show that the Maltese population is 98% Roman Catholic.  The constitution states that “authorities of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church have the duty and the right to teach which principles are right and which are wrong” (Constitution, 1.2b).  The treatment of irregular immigrants should be no exception.  During his visit to Malta, the Pope himself addressed the issue of immigration into the country.  Gozo Bishop, Mario Grech “sharply criticized the detention policy for migrants, whose only crime is escaping persecution in their own countries” (Sammut, 2010).  The Bishop reportedly said that it is “unfortunate that a civilized country such as ours, having the values we think we are defined by, sees nothing wrong in keeping locked in detention women and men who committed no crime and who are only here because they are seeking another country’s protection?” (Grech, 2009) (Sammut, 2010).  It has been eight years since these high levels of migration have hit Malta.  It is argued that many citizens are simply just fearful of the change that their country is seeing and they do not know what to do.  “From a local newspaper, a survey reports that 75% of Maltese have no contact with illegal immigrants” (Sammut, 2010).  This statistic suggests that the Christian state of Malta should be better educated with the issue.  To meet the needs of the boat people, the Maltese community should try to become more understanding and expose themselves to the process and treatment that these people are facing.  “NGOs and journalists have limited and restricted access to detention centers” (Sammut, 2010) as it is. 

Irregular immigrants are granted free accommodation as well as basic necessities and are entitled to health care by the Government of Malta.  The quality of these accommodations and their health care may be a humanitarian violation. Under the Constitution of Malta, Section 1 states the is unknown and there is no sufficient evidence or statistics that show conditions within the closed centers. Also, the overcrowding and lack of space is said to be a major issue in affecting the health of every confined immigrant.  The main humanitarian issue that is currently being ignored in Malta concerns the human rights of this new population on this island. Malta subjects illegal immigrants to detention of up to 18 months. “NGOs and human rights groups castigate this as in breach of human rights, the EU basically issuing rules that accept detention ‘in extraordinary circumstances’, seemingly very much with the Maltese case in mind. Several European and international organizations, including the Council of Europe's (COE's), Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), the UNHCR, and the EU, criticized conditions in the country's detention centers for irregular migrants. Problems included overcrowded and unsanitary prison space, guards who were insensitive to the need for separating men and women in confined spaces, the absence of meaningful vocational or recreational activity within the centers, and lack of access to legal counsel” (Bureau of Human Rights and Behavior, 2010). After a record breaking amount of immigrants arrived in Malta, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) reported that the detention centers were appalling and inhuman.  MSF complained of “poor sanitary conditions and a lack of many facilities in the open centers, including hot water and clothes” (Sammut, 2010). 

Since Malta is now a part of the EU, the EU has an obligation to assist Malta with the immigration dilemma.  “NGOs and human rights groups castigate this as in breach of human rights, the EU basically issuing rules that accept detention ‘in extraordinary circumstances’, seemingly very much with the Maltese case in mind” Malta is different than the other EU nations due to its geographical characteristics and natural boarders, yet the EU standards all still apply to the country. Malta has lobbied to the European Union and has attained financial assistance. They have also been promised some alleviation concerning the Dublin 2 obligation, which is to be responsible for the burden of all irregular persons who enter Malta. “However, Malta’s immigration is clearly unmanageable without substantial burden sharing, a measure whose need EU institutions increasingly recognise but are still slow to act upon” (Pace et al., 2009). The EU has allocated over €126 million to spend in the field of asylum from 2007 to 2013 and was noted to have only spent only €18 million of that money.

Contributing factors to limit the growth of illegal immigration
Dealing with the Situation

Irregular immigration has been a topic of discussion for the past decade. Projected statistics estimate with the continuing presence of asylum seekers to Malta, the country will be unable to sustain its already overpopulated state. Given Malta's population of 400,000, it is as if 45,000 people had landed in Germany, Maltese government officials have said (Amore 2005). A wealth of information and statistical data indicate that irregular immigration presents a serious issue, a threat to the nation of Malta and southern EU nations. However, where is the legislation and government authority to manage this suppose debacle? Complaints can be heard around the island:

"These people don't want to be here. Send them on their way!"
"Where? Nobody wants them!"
"Why bring them in here? They are costing us lots of money."
"Because they are in danger. They are dying."
"It's not my problem. (Mardell 2009)

Currently, immigration is being dealt with accordingly, however; the issue has not been settled. Results have publicly shown the existing measures to curb the numbers have yet to yield success. Yes, detention camps have served a purpose of documenting and implementing health check ups, but it does not curb the act of immigration. Most of the policies implemented are only encouraging the act of immigration further. Discussing ideas related to the root of the problem will enhance the inapplicability of the continuation of irregular asylum seekers. Communication is the key aspect to addressing the problem. According to the Maltese, the EU has provided limited aid in the struggle to control irregular immigration. Due to immigration alone, in 2007, it cost Malta the equivalent of 0.26 per cent of its GDP to deal with the immigration problem, the highest spending across the EU on a proportional basis (Chaudry 2010). Receiving monetary value does help, but this resource only serves the short-term goal. Consider EU grants as a tertiary action to the problem; it will only drain budgets and further increase the number of irregular asylum seekers. A stipend of money is similar to placing a band-aid over the wound.


Communication and diplomatic proceedings are necessary. Malta must stress the issue further and plead for the EU to accompany Malta in addressing the problem. A united front must be in existence to curtail the issue and exemplify the idea that irregular immigration is draining economies. Improving relations with African nations is the first step to take into consideration. Undertaking the problem from its root of origin will terminate the migration process all together. The EU and African nations must hold symposiums in order to confer thoughts on how to deal with the issue. Having the EU assist African nations in border control could be one potential factor. Establishing an agency in nations such as Libya and Somalia to scan for runners will help relieve the stress on the EU.

Non-Profit Presence

Along with improving relations with African nations, it would be in both Malta’s and the EU’s interest to allow non-profit organizations to come in and care for these irregulars as well. Involving third party resources will allow necessities to be treated correctly and through an unbiased eye. Advantageous as well is the fact that Malta will not have to use its medical resources on compensating these individuals. Many of the people will be able to be seen by doctors not affiliated with the state and will still be able to receive treatment for TB, HIV/AIDS, and STI’s. Having such non-profit organizations will allow the Maltese to allocate their monetary resources elsewhere: such as toward educating the asylum seekers. Non-profit organizations will also have the opportunity to establish themselves close to the detention centers. Having them there to treat these people for diseases and identification will alleviate the pressure for Malta. Economically, non-profit organizations are not involved with the EU and will have different sets of standards in which to abide. Benefiting the immigrants, the establishment of a non-profit t the detention will also benefit the Maltese as well alleviating the pressure to treat more people and sustain a functioning hospital budget.

Dublin II Convention

The preamble to the Dublin II Convention outlines the main objectives to the regulation and outlines the commission’s proposal. Stated in the preamble the Dublin II Convention states the main objectives as followed:

  1. To ensure that the asylum seekers have effective access to procedures for determining refugee status

  2. To prevent abuse of asylum procedures in the form of multiple applications for asylum submitted simultaneously or successively by the same person in several member states

  3. To determine as quickly as possible the member state responsible for the examination f an asylum claim.

The main objectives of the Convention concern the process following the application of identifying the individual. However, it does not assess the impact of the regulation on the individual and the humanitarian rights in which will be carried out. If the EU wants to thoroughly tackle the problem of irregular immigration amendments must be made concerning humanitarian rights and the efficiency of the system. A more cohesive inclusion of all EU member states needs to aid in this process and address the following conditions: humanitarian rights, detention hall conditions, time limits and transfers, and the efficiency of the system. Below these topics are listed and the following are suggested improvements that can be made. Malta must stress these amendments in order to assume drastic measures will be taken to relieve them of this influx of irregular migrants.

  1. Humanitarian Clause: Should be applies more flexibly to ensure it has the positive intended impact on the asylum seeker.

  2. Reception Conditions: The Dublin II should explicitly state the equality of all conditions to all asylum-seekers as being consistent throughout each country. A committee with a stable funded budget should oversee these equal conditions. Provision specifying the grounds on which detention may be employed must be addressed in written documentation to ensure proper judicial review.

  3. Time Limits: E reasonable time limit for request to take an applicant back should be established. Such measures would significantly reduce hardships on the slum-seeker

  4. Efficiency of the system: The European union should collect, analyze, and distribute public statistical data on the implementation of the Dublin II Regulations and ongoing. Furthermore, the EU needs to analyze the distribution of the asylum-seekers applications and balance the distribution of their records to EU nations.

According to a report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the evaluation of the Dublin System, the official report states:

According to the Commission, the objectives of the Dublin system have, on the whole, been achieved. The Commission explains that, owing to the lack of precise data from the Member States, it has not been able to evaluate the cost of the system, and that some concerns remain in terms of both the practical application and the effectiveness of the system. The Commission addresses these concerns in the proposals amending the Dublin II Regulation and the Eurodac Regulation. (Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the evaluation of the Dublin system, 2007)

However, if these main objectives have been achieved why is it that Malta still struggles with irregular immigration? Measures must be taken to amend the Dublin II. Furthermore, economic gains need to be offered to EU member states for aiding in the process of asylum-seekers. Examples include:

  1. Tax reductions

  2. Educational benefits

  3. Transportation funding


The Maltese society has been homogenous throughout the centuries. Their historical background and heritage has distinguished these people to pride themselves on their past. To honor their elders and the ideals in which have been practiced throughout the years. The new emergence of illegal immigration to Malta has sounded a siren for the Maltese people. The idea that their country may become a melting pot of religions, ethnicities, cultural heritage, and ideals is not appealing to them. This is referred to as xenophobia; the fear or dislike of foreigners or in general of people different from one's self (Webster Dictionary, 2008). Understanding of this, the Maltese people must take actions to assimilate these people into their culture instead of shunning them away. A deeper study of the Maltese society and immigrants must be academically researched. Currently, the level of integration and civic participation from immigrants is limited in the Maltese community. Research can serve a better understanding of the impact immigration has had on Malta. Further discussion will be addressed in the Proactive measures Malta can take to embrace the needs of these asylum-seekers.

Proactive Measures

An acceptance of appreciation and toleration must be imposed in order to examine these issues. Attacking these issues in a more proactive manner will allow for challenges to diminish and can contribute to a better understanding of the impact if immigration to Malta. Taking proactive measures will allow for these irregular immigrants to become more assimilate to the culture and further encourage these people to accept Maltese culture. The following proactive measures are suggested ideas:

  1. Model Role: The development of a more efficient integration policies and anti-discrimination strategies should be implemented which will further acclaim the role of Malta as the mediator between the north and south of the Mediterranean.

  2. The New Deal”: To integrate individuals from the open center, work must be provided to these people. There must be a stepping-stone provided to the irregular immigrants to have the opportunity to obtain work. The hefty budget provided by the EU to Malta to deal with these illegals could enhance the advantageous opportunities for both the Maltese and the irregulars to find harmony amongst each other. Taking a proactive measure of providing outlets of job opportunities through public work would be a great start. Having the irregular asylum seekers work on public needs such as fixing roads and landscaping are some examples. These examples do not have to be taken as concrete jobs descriptions, but finding a field of work in which Maltese people are shunning away from and providing these irregulars with the opportunity to work will provide a dual beneficial outcome.

  3. Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers: AWAS is a beneficial program run through the state of Malta. AWAS uses proactive measures to assist asylum seekers in adapting to life here in Malta; providing these people with living corridors and resources to obtain job the asylum seekers are integrated into the culture much easier. This agency deplores a positive aura, which makes the irregulars feel more at home. Though under funded, AWAS has humane intentions. The great aspect surrounding the agency is that if offers irregulars a hand up, not a hand out.

University of Malta

Students from around the world will attend the University of Malta. The main focus is English, which is perfect in retrospect to the increasing number of irregulars. Lacking resources and financial aid, the students at the University of Malta offer free resources. Integrating the use of students to come and volunteer their time at the centers will allow asylum seekers to gain a wealth of knowledge. The University is known in Europe for its extensive advancements in the teachings of English. The use of these students to teach the asylum seekers English will benefit not only the asylum seekers, but the Maltese people as well. The involvement and interaction of students with migrants will allow the gradual process of relations to form. The formation relations can further reduce the strife that exists between the clashing cultures.

United States Aid

Communication for improved medical and health care are at the Maltese governments fingers. The fact of the matter is whether or not they make the conscious effort of reaching out. All around the world there are non-profit organizations and governments of the EU who would be willing to send more aid. Governmental officials have extensive networks, which can contribute to fighting the increases asylum seekers population. One foreign aid they can turn to is the United States. Being a small country, it is easy to see how the population density can thoroughly increase. Multitudes of immigrants make their way to the shores of Malta every year. Controlling this entry is challenging in itself. However, asking larger nations, such as the US, for assistance will not hurt. The starting point in contacting the United States for aid would be through the American Ambassador to Malta. Asking for aid from the Ambassador can only bring about positive turn around.


Immigration has been a prominent issue throughout the ages. Known as a world-wide matter, Malta does not stand alone in the search to efficiently handle the affair. Malta has a long standing history of emigration and recent events have shifted the spectrum toward an influx of irregular migrants from Africa. Being the smallest nation in of the European Union, Malta struggles to cope with the increased migration rates. The political address to the problem concerns the humanitarian rights. Open and closed centers throughout Malta have experienced instances in which humanitarian issues have been overseen. These centers have been operational for the past eight years and have had ample time to improve processes. Malta must now move from crisis management to management and implementation of programs. To counteract xenophobia, Malta must work toward integrating these asylum seekers into society. The economic and health impacts that the irregular immigrants have been apparently causing can and must be addressed. The use of their time and effort can be utilized to shed a more positive light upon the asylum seekers purpose. Multiple factors are readily accessible to Malta, but most importantly Malta must expand their communication network. The Maltese government must organize and establish symposiums with both Africa, other European nations, and the United States. The act of immigration will further continue throughout the twenty-first century and nations must consider taking more proactive measures to address the issue.


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Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats


  • Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers, AWAS, provides irregular immigrants with employment opportunities in the community.

    • Identification, Assessment, and Care

    • Integrated-Related Information and Education

  • Provision and service of Health Care are provided by the state of Malta in the universal health care system.

  • Open centers provide food, shelter, and access to transportation for asylum seekers to integrate into Maltese society

  • Identification Cards provide documentation for irregular immigrants to identify ones status and provisions.

  • Special needs are provided for unaccompanied minors under Care Order in which they receive education and information on the structure of Maltese society.

    • Compulsory schooling is provides occupational training to alyssum seekers to adapt to daily Maltese life styles.

  • ERF employment support and language education


  • The Dublin Convention constrains immigration flow to Malta. It lacks a cohesive collaboration of all EU nations to participate in aid of irregular immigrants. The Dublin Convention is strictly objective; humanitarian rights are absent from legislation, which provides loophole in care of irregular immigrants.

  • Language Barriers present a multitude of road blocks for an irregular immigrant; without a voice one may not be represented or able to plead their case.

  • As a small, density populated island, Maltase lacks and abundance of resources. The addition of persons to the population places a great pressure on the countries sustainability.

  • Lack of understanding among the Maltese and irregular immigrants. It is challenging to recruit and staff centers


  • Job opportunities would be more available to irregular immigrants than in their home countries.

  • EU relations may improve due to better cohesion strategies and active participation. Communication channels also have the chance to improve with African nations through discussion of these immigration patters

  • Communication improvements via Maltese government and asylum seekers during detention could open doors to job opportunities as well as cultural understanding and acceptance


  • Living conditions in the closed centers may pose a risk to mental and physical health effects to immigrants. It also may be challenging to adjust to open centers and abiding by new rules of the country.

  • Governmental disagreements and differences in African nations create a challenge in sending migrants back to their country of origin. Lack of communication between these countries may lead to conflict.

  • Relations between Maltese people and irregular immigrants are important in maintaining stable and safe society while upholding catholic values. This relationship poses the most risk to the country of Malta while dealing with new groups of people form West Africa. Education and understanding of these people and their status needs to be taught to the people of Malta to gain acceptance to their conditions. Because this influx of people is so abrupt, the state of fear needs to be reduced to prevent the spread and ideology of racism, xenophobia, and ethnocentrism towards this new population to avoid violence and stop discrimination.

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