Malta: Increase in asylum applications during 2019

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There were 4,090 people requesting international protection in Malta during 2019, almost double the number recorded in the previous year. The figure represents 0.6 percent of the share of asylum applicants across the EU: Germany has the highest share at 23 percent, followed by France and Spain with 18 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

Data by the National Statistics office shows that the number of boat landings in Malta rose to 43 last year, the highest since 2008. The number of persons onboard amounted to 3,405, an increase from 1,445 during the previous year.

The Refugee Commissioner processed slightly over 1,000 asylum applications, accepting two-fifths, and rejecting the rest. The majority of people whose request for protection was granted are of Syrian citizenship (70%) or Libyan citizenship (15%). Applicants originating from any of these two countries make 17 percent of the total arrivals, while people from Sudan make the largest group by citizenship, at 26 percent. Four in five asylum seekers were from African countries.

Malta received the second-highest number of applications for processing relative to its population size in the EU, equivalent to 8,286 requests for every million inhabitants. Cyprus had the highest number, at 15,584 per million, while Greece ranks third with 7,205 applications per million. Greece received more than a tenth of the total applications in the EU, while Cyprus has slightly under two percent of the share.

Nearly eight in every ten applicants in Malta were within the 18 to 34 age bracket and 2,900 are male. There have been 635 relocations of asylum seekers during 2019, with more than 80 percent of them heading to France or Germany.

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