Malta tops asylum recognition rates
An immigrant landing on Malta’s shores last year had twice the chance of being granted international recognition than in any other EU member state.
Data published yesterday by Eurostat shows Malta retained top position in 2011 by granting asylum status to 55 per cent of applicants.
Greece, which is also seeing a flood of irregular immigrants, only granted asylum to 2.1 per cent and the EU as a whole recognised one out of every four applicants.
Malta’s “positive” recognition rate also has a negative impact on a highly densely populated island, which has to cater for high numbers of asylum seekers.
According to EU officials, Malta’s high recognition rate is not linked to any “lenient” benchmarks by the local authorities but is due to where the asylum seekers are from.
“Unlike other member states, Malta’s applicants are mostly coming from sub-Saharan Africa in which case many of them are immediately recognised as in need of international protection according to international rules.
“These include countries with ongoing wars and conflicts such as Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea,” the officials said.
An analysis of the asylum recognition granted by Malta last year shows that out of 888 new recognitions, 45.9 per cent were given to those claiming to be from Somalia, almost 30 per cent to Eritreans and another five per cent from Sudan.
Last year’s trend is similar to previous records where Malta’s recognition rate also topped the EU-27 rate with 65.7 per cent in 2009 and 60 per cent in 2010.
The difference is in 2010 when Malta had just 350 applicants, while last year the total soared to 1,605.
Since January, 900 immigrants have already made it to Malta from Libya. Almost all try their luck and apply for asylum recognition while those who are not recognised still take months and even years to leave due to a very heavy bureaucratic system to have them repatriated.