New Specific Residence Authorisation policy implemented in Malta for rejected asylum seekers
On 15 November 2018, the Maltese Government announced a new policy regarding Specific Residence Authorisation (SRA) that provides status for individuals whose asylum claim had been rejected but who could not be returned. Applicants who are granted an SRA will receive a two-year residence permit with the possibility of renewal, access to core welfare benefits as outlined in the Refugees Act, an employment licence, access to state medical care, education, and training, as well as a travel document.
In its press release, the government acknowledged that a number of persons have been actively contributing to Maltese society for several years, undertaken employment, learnt Maltese or English, and formed relationships with Maltese people. The aim of the new policy is to ‘reduce social exclusion among migrant communities and recognise the efforts of migrants who are actively contributing’ to Maltese society.
The SRA system will be managed by Identity Malta. The new SRA policy replaces the Temporary Humanitarian Protection New (THP-N) policy of 2010, which was discontinued two years ago amid concerns raised by NGOs. UNHCR Malta have commended the new policy, which has also been welcomed by NGOs.