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NGOs welcome new residency rights for failed asylum seekers

New policy will combat migrant poverty and precariousness, human rights groups say

Some 120 immigrants were found to be living in inhumane conditions on a Qormi farm in August

Human rights NGOs welcomed plans to grant residency status to failed asylum seekers who have integrated into Maltese society.

This week government announced the Specific Residence Authorisation (SRA) policy which the NGOs said ensures the security, stability and dignity for migrants who, throughout the years, have invested their energies and dreams into making Malta their home.

For long years asylum seekers who were denied refugee status and could not be repatriated or relocated to other countries lived in a legal and social limbo which resulted in many people living in poverty and precarity.

The new policy will be accessible by current holders of the Temporary Humanitarian Protection N status. It will also be accessible by persons who cannot be returned to their countries of origin and who, during their time in Malta, have demonstrated integration efforts.

The SRA policy will offer eligible persons the possibility to make the significant shift from a temporary – and therefore insecure – situation to one that embraces the principles of transparency and predictability, the human rights groups said.

“Importantly, the SRA policy will also contribute towards combating migrant poverty and the anxiety that inevitably ensues from living in an eternal limbo,” the NGOs who form part of the ‘This is Home’ campaign said.

They added that the new policy finally acknowledges the personal, social, financial and other contributions made by so many migrants in Malta. “In doing so, Malta is taking a bold step towards fostering a truly inclusive society.”

Thanking government for the consultation process that permitted the ‘This is Home’ campaign to share its views in a frank and open manner, the NGOs said “we reiterate our support of this form of engagement, and look forward to other similar interactions with the (home affairs) ministry on matters of mutual concern.”

‘This is Home’ campaign is composed of: aditus foundation, African Media Association Malta, The Critical Institute, Foundation for Shelter and Support to Migrants, Gender Liberation, Integra Foundation, International Association for Refugees, JRS Malta, KOPIN, Malta Emigrants’ Commission, Maltese-Serbian Community, MGRM, Migrant Women Association in Malta, Moroccan Community in Malta, Moviment Graffitti, Organisation for Friendship in Diversity, the People for Change Foundation, the Platform of Human Rights Organisations in Malta, SKOP, Solidarity with Migrants Group, SOS Malta, Spark 15, Sudanese Community, Third Country National Support Network, Women’s Rights Foundation.

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