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 1. Do you think that residents can live a dignified life on the benefits that AWAS gives?
AWAS provides a food and transport allowance to unemployed residents of open centres.   Accomodation and related welfare services are free.  Once the person can move out to independent living he or she can apply for social assistance which is at par to what nationals receive.
2. How long do you allow residents to stay in centres?
Accomodation in an open centre is temporary until the person is able to live independently.  In general one can live in an open centre for a maximum of twelve months
3. Why do residents live in mobile homes?
The procurement of mobile homes has been a big investment which was made through European funding.  The numbers of arrivals have been very high.  Accomodation in mobile homes is practical.  AWAS still ensures that each resident is provided with a good enough space as a living arrangement.
4. What happens when the one year comes to an end?
Each case is evaluated on its own terms.  Due consideration is given to the service-user’s specific needs and any particular vulnerabilities.
5. Is there any mechanism for returning failed asylum seekers?
Failed asylum-seekers have two options.  They can opt to return volantarily and in a dignified manner through assissted voluntary return schemes.  Otherwise the Immigration Police may return the failed asylum seekers through relations with third-countries.  This is a difficult but possible route.  It is difficult as many of the third countries do not have diplomatic offices in Malta to be able to issue a travelling document.
6. What courses and training do you provide?
AWAS refers to mainstream educational courses and training.  Internally we provide information related training sessions and volunteers and NGOs provide different courses on an ad hoc basis and upon requests from the service-users themselves.
7. Why don’t you allow non-residents to enter centres?
Open centres are open for residents and staff.  We emphasize this to ensure privacy of the residents and for security purposes.   Having a daily record of who is in and out of the Centres  is essential in case of any emergency within the Centres.
8. Do you have curfews?
Unaccompanied minors asylum seekers under a Care Order  are  the only service users who are given a  curfew time.  This is  due to the protection regime that accompanies a Care Order.
9. Do you detain children?
No Malta does not detain children.  All children together with their primary caregivers  and those claiming to be unaccompanied minors are accomodated at an Initial Reception Centre until the necessary administrative procedures are concluded.
10. What is the current procedure for new arrivals? Do they go to detention?
Detention does not happen at first instance.  All arrivals are accomodated at an Initial Reception Centre.  It is here where Immigration Police assess each case and decide if there is enough reason to detain or otherwise.  This is in line with the new EU Reception Directive.
11. What is the role of AWAS on integration?
AWAS has a pre-integration function.  Our role is the provision of information related to integration so as to enable the sevice-users to become fully independent.
12. What age assessment procedure do you use?
AWAS age assessment is well received by the European Asylum Support Office.   We use a  psychosocial interview tool to conduct a semi-structured interview by a team of professionals.  AWAS provides benefit of the doubt and resorts for a hand and wrist x-ray as a means of further age verification only as a very last resort.
13. What is your relationship with NGOs?
There is a very tight cooperation between AWAS and NGO’s . AWAS liaises with NGOs on different levels according to the NGO’s functions .
14. What is your budget? What is your staff? Are you happy with them?
AWAS budget for 2016 is 1.8 million that mostly covers salaries and day to day costs.  All centres are manned by support workers 24/7.  AWAS has also a small care team for welfare related one to one and group interventions.
15. Is Europe helping Malta?
Malta has continuosly received funds from Europe to ameliorate the situation both through the European Refugee Fund and through Emergency Measures.  This funding has ranged from investment to the physical infrastracture of the Centres to services-related measures.  Obvioulsy Malta continues to insist for a coherent and  far reaching support mechanism for this phenomenon to be tackled at large.

Contact Information:

Contact Icon Contact Name 
Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers (AWAS)
Block C, Beltissebh
Floriana FRN 1700
Phone Icon Telephone
2568 7239
Email Icon Email