PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR HOME AFFAIRS AND NATIONAL SECURITY: Review of Temporary Humanitarian Protection – N(ew) for failed asylum seekers

Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Carmelo Abela held a meeting with representatives of local NGOs to inform them on the upcoming reform of Temporary Humanitarian Protection- N(ew). Minister Abela emphasised that the granting of THP-n started in 2010 and was granted to failed asylum seekers by the Office of the Refugee Commissioner. Such a status did not originate from any international or national law but was being granted on the basis of an internal administrative policy.

In the last weeks the Ministry, together with the Refugee Commissioner’s Office, started a review process of operations at the latter’s office that were overdue for a reassessment, including THP-n. The Minister stressed that since THP-n is outside the remit of the Refugee Commissioner discussions with Identity Malta and Jobsplus were held to find a proper alternative way forward.

As a result the following changes will be implemented:-

– Current holders of THP-n, who still meet the current eligibility criteria, would have such status renewed until not later than 31st October 2017 by the Office of the Refugee Commissioner.

– Those holders whose THP-n status expired and was not renewed due to the current review which was taking place since the end of October 2016, are to contact the Office of the Refugee Commissioner should they wish to renew their status, provided that all eligibility requirements previously in place, are met.

– The Office of the Refugee Commissioner shall not be issuing any new THP-n certificates.

– Those having their THP-n renewed until 31st October 2017 are to start making arrangements to procure all the required documentation from their country of origin that would allow them to apply with Identity Malta for the issuing of a residence permit to cover their stay in Malta after the 31st October 2017. The applicants in question would also have to comply with other relevant Identity Malta criteria, including the presentation of a valid employment licence.

– Failure to present such documentation means that the individual in question will continue to be considered as a failed asylum seeker. This is without any prejudice to his/her right to apply for an employment licence with Jobsplus, as per current procedures already in place.

Those failed asylum seekers who are current holders of Temporary Humanitarian Protection-n, who, for genuine and manifest humanitarian reasons require some other form of protection, might make a request for Temporary Humanitarian Protection with the Office of the Refugee Commissioner.

Following the lodging of such a request for protection, the assessment will be carried out by this Office, on a case-by-case basis. This status, which unlike Temporary Humanitarian Protection-n will be retained, may be granted on a case-by-case basis to applicants for international protection who do not qualify for refugee or subsidiary protection, but who likewise, could be awarded protection on the basis of humanitarian reasons.

It is therefore not considered that the discontinuation of Temporary Humanitarian Protection-n would have an adverse impact on current holders of such status who face genuine humanitarian issues.

It should be noted by way of clarification that the detention of a number of irregular immigrants by Immigration Police this week is completely unrelated to the review of this status hereby discussed. Those currently detained are not in possession of this or any other status.

The Minister for Home Affairs voiced his respect for the work being done by the NGO’s whilst reiterating that in the course of its duties the Ministry has to take decisions in the area of irregular immigration in line with Maltese and European legislations.

During the meeting the representatives presented a joint NGO input to the Ministry, on Temporary Humanitarian Protection-n.

Source: Government of Malta.