The Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Michael Farrugia together with the Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms, Citizenship and Simplification of Administrative Processes Julia Farrugia Portelli have launched a Policy Regarding Specific Residence Authorisation (SRA) replacing the Temporary Humanitarian Protection New (THPN) policy of 2010.

Through this policy, the MaltaGov is establishing a new system aimed at addressing the situation of a number of THPN certificate holders and other persons who do not have international protection and who cannot be returned to their country of origin.

As from today, beneficiaries of this status will no longer be required to obtain a certificate from the Refugee Commissioner every year. The SRA will be managed by Identity Malta and eligible applicants will be able to apply for a two-year renewable residence permit. All applications for a residence permit will continue to be vetted by the Police Immigration Office.

The policy will also address a specific situation for a defined category of persons who have been living and working in Malta for a number of years. These migrants will be given the opportunity to apply for a residence permit, subject to the fulfilment of a number of integration measures.

The changes do not mean that all persons whose asylum claim has been rejected are, or will be, entitled to a regular status in Malta. The government’s position remains that those persons who are not in need of international protection should return to their country of origin.

Nevertheless, the Government of Malta is recognising that a number of persons have been actively contributing to Maltese society for several years, have learnt Maltese or English, have built relationships with Maltese citizens and a life on our island. Government is not insensitive to these situations and acknowledges the need to have a standard procedure in place which would treat such persons with dignity.

The policy is intended to reduce social exclusion among migrant communities and recognise the efforts of migrants who are actively contributing to our society. This is also a concrete action towards implementing the principles set out in the Migrant Integration Strategy and Action Plan Vision 2020.

Throughout 2018, the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security, as the ministry responsible for migration, has engaged in consultation with a number of civil society organisations who work in the field of migration, and more importantly, has also consulted with various individual migrants and migrant communities who will be affected by this policy. While it is acknowledged that this policy will not be able to address all the issues and concerns raised, it is a good first step towards mending a system which has been broken for far too long.

The government thanks everyone who took the time to share their experience and give their valuable feedback during the consultation process.

Further information about the policy may be accessed on the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security website.