A group of some 50 migrants who arrived in Malta by sea over the past two years have been sent back to their country of origin following a repatriation operation carried out by the Police Immigration section. The operation was covered by European Union funds.
The group of foreigners who had landed in Malta in past months were at the airport early today, escorted by Police and Armed Forces, to be transferred back to their countries.
The Home Affairs and National Security Ministry explained that these migrants had their requests for asylum turned down by the Agency for International Protection. The process for their repatriation started as soon as it was confirmed they did not qualify for protection and would not be at risk once they returned to their country.
The Ministry explained that in these circumstances, repatriation is not an easy process, particularly as the migrants had arrived without any identification documents. Minister Byron Camilleri stated that Malta had always been in the forefront to safeguard those truly in need, whilst at the same time resorting to every available means at law to repatriate those who are not entitled to any form of protection.
“Through this repatriation operation, the country is sending a message that those who do not qualify for protection are sent back. It is not an easy process, particularly during a pandemic, but as a result of the commitment shown by the Police and the Armed Forces as well as other entities under the Home Affairs Ministry, a group of persons are today being sent back to their country of origin.”
Dr Camilleri added that work is ongoing, as indicated in this year’s budget speech, to set up a dedicated section to work for the repatriation of more persons who have no right to remain in Malta. The migrants were repatriated through an Air Malta flight. Expenses for this operation were covered through European Union funds for this purpose.