Current Affairs
Around 40 foreigners who are found to be in Malta illegally are deported per month

Around 40 foreigners per month are deported from Malta after it has been found that they are here illegally.  This is part of the work carried out by the Immigration section of the Police Force which includes regular inspections around the whole country. Apart from this, around 20 foreigners per month are stopped at the airport on arrival and are not allowed to enter Malta but are immediately deported.

“We are only concerned with ensuring that people are here legally, it does not matter what your skin colour is, because that does not come into it. Come to Malta through legal channels, follow Malta’s laws and you will not have any problems”, said Inspector Frankie Sammut from the Immigration Section.

Inspector Sammut was very frank when he was asked how the Police deal with the foreigners who are found to be here illegally. He denied that any differences are made between one foreign national and another. “We have deported people who are Caucasian as well as those who are dark-skinned.”

He explained that the Immigration section carries out regular inspections to verify that Third Country Nationals are here in Malta legally. He added that when irregularities are found, such as expired visas, people who are here without permission or who do not have any means to support themselves, are arrested and deported.

“We deport them back to their countries, and we escort them to the airport ourselves to ensure that they have left the country,” said the Inspector.

Last year, the Police deported 529 people from around 30 countries. Statistics obtained by Television Malta show that over the first four months of this year around 157 foreign nationals were deported, an average of 40 per month.

The inspections also deal with the reality of immigrants who have been given asylum in Italy and then come to Malta by air or by sea. “This category of immigrant can come to Malta and can stay here for three months as tourists.”

The same applies to people from countries which are exempt from visas, in which case they can come to Malta for three months within a six month period. He made it clear that these people are not allowed to work here.

Inspector Sammut said that there are cases where the Police cover the expenses of the flight because the person has no money. In other cases, the person is allowed a period of time to leave the island. “We sometimes give them a bit of time, because if for example they have settled here, they would have a car or motorcycle which they need to sell, or pending bills they have to pay, so we give them a time limit and the person leaves voluntarily.”

He added that people who do not agree with the deportation order have a right to appeal. Until the decisions is handed down they are held at the Hal Safi detention centre.

Inspector Sammut also pointed out that the Immigration Police stop various Third Country Nationals from entering Malta for reasons allowed by law. Last year there were 405 foreigners who were stopped at the airport on arrival and sent back. This year, 73 foreigners were not allowed to enter Malta.

There are also cases of automatic deportation from Malta. He said that this applies to foreign nationals who have been found guilty of a crime and are sentenced to more than one year in jail, who are then ordered to leave Malta immediately as soon as they serve their sentence, which is permitted by law even if they have a residence permit.